International Student Insurance Develops Mental Health Training for International Students

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International Student Insurance collaborated with The MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness to release a free, comprehensive mental health training for international students designed to promote emotional wellness and mental health awareness and address the stigma associated with seeking care.

ISI

Colleges and universities are wrestling with how best to support their international students, and this training will be a great first step for many schools to introduce emotional wellness and mental health awareness to their students.

International Student Insurance (ISI) has developed a comprehensive, free multimedia training package for US schools intended to help promote emotional wellness and mental health awareness among international students.

The training, utilizing the expertise of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, focuses on tactics to help international students manage their most common stressors, as well as exploring the phases of culture shock and how to seek help when needed. Also included in the training are common myths and misconceptions otherwise inhibiting students from proactively seeking help. The overarching goal is to convey best practices in staying mentally and emotionally healthy, and the training package is designed to be presented by any international education professional, including non-clinical staff.

“We’re delighted and honored to work with the Center on this project, as they have the leading clinicians and academics in the field of cross-cultural student emotional wellness,” said Keith Clausen, President of ISI. “International students are far from home and their support system at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives. Colleges and universities are wrestling with how best to support their international students, and this training will be a great first step for many schools to introduce emotional wellness and mental health awareness to their students.”

The Emotional Wellness Training for International Students has been designed with a modular format, so schools can tailor the training to their specific needs and time available. The primary goals are to create a vehicle through which to discuss these sensitive topics, facilitate engaging dialogues, and encourage an ongoing awareness of the importance of mental health. The training consists of the following pieces:

  • Mental Health Awareness video: an introduction to mental health which covers topics like “what is mental health,” “myths of seeking treatment,” and “where to go if help is needed.”
  • Powerpoint presentation: a comprehensive presentation which provides the foundation for meaningful discussion and effective training
  • Proctor guide: a guide to walk the proctor through the training by providing a complete script, talking points, and a copy of the powerpoint presentation
  • Culture shock and stress video: interviews with 11 international students where they talk about their experiences of stress and culture shock, along with advice on how to manage them
  • Engaging discussion and activities: exercises to encourage dialogue and promote student engagement
  • Summary brochure: a pamphlet, available in electronic and print formats, which provides students with a takeaway from the training

Dr. Justin Chen MD, MPH, Founder of the Center, commented, “As the number of international students in this country has continued to grow, the challenge of effectively addressing their unique mental health needs has become increasingly well recognized. Unfortunately, there has been a persistent lack of high-quality resources and practical tools to assist educators and clinicians in cross-cultural work. This training represents a first step toward better supporting the emotional well-being and psychological resilience of diverse student populations.”

The new “Emotional Wellness Training for International Students” will be available for free to any US-based high school, college, university, or any other organization which serves international students, and is expected to be released by August 2018 in time for Fall orientations and other information sessions.

You can learn more about this and other resources that ISI has been developing for international educators by visiting https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/school-resources/. For more information about MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, please visit mghstudentwellness.org. The Center served as a paid consultant on content creation for the training.

About ISI
International Student Insurance is a specialized insurance agency selling health and travel insurance to students from around the world. Online since 2001, ISI is a trusted industry leader providing insurance to students studying outside their home country. Owned and operated by Envisage International Corporation, International Student Insurance is a NAFSA Global Partner, member of EnglishUSA and the Alliance for International Exchange. ISI is also accredited with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.

About MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness
The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness is a Boston-based nonprofit consortium of clinicians, educators, and researchers who are passionate about understanding and promoting the emotional health and psychological resilience of students and scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds. The Center focuses on three main areas including education and primary prevention, research, as well as consultation, treatment and referral.

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Jennifer Frankel

Justin A. Chen, MD, MPH
@intl_insurance
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