UK universities often pride themselves on having a diverse student population, with international students from all over the world travelling to study here. Like any students, international students are at risk of suffering from poor mental health, however, studies have found that factors unique to international students may increase this risk further. Familial pressures, culture shock, travel costs and stigma are just a few factors that are more likely to be experienced by international students and have a negative impact on their mental health. This is reflected in the rise in use of wellbeing services by international students in the past few years.
Currently, many universities direct international students through the same channels put in place for students resident in the UK, which works….during term time. But what happens when these students travel to their home countries during holidays or breaks from teaching? Traditional wellbeing services cannot accommodate these students as they rely on face to face therapy which, obviously, cannot continue if it’s not possible to physically attend a session.
In best case scenarios, therapy is put on hold until the student returns to the UK and can resume their course. However, some services have in place, policies that mean that if a student cannot attend an appointment in a specified period of time, their therapy allocation is terminated and should they wish to continue receiving help, they must rejoin the increasingly long waiting lists.
It’s important that we recognise this flaw in the system that’s disadvantaging international students, and instead, utilise a system that means therapy can be accessed anywhere, anytime in any time zone across the world. The Dr Julian platform does exactly that. Students can begin their therapy in whichever country they happen to be in at the time of referral and continue with the same therapist even if they have to travel to another country during the duration of their therapy.
In addition to this, therapy can be received in a range of languages. This means that students whose first language is not English can receive therapy in their native tongue and need not worry about language barriers during such a difficult time, allowing them to speak freely and comfortably.
With innovative platforms like this available, universities have no excuse for not providing equitable mental healthcare for all students. By utilising modern technologies and ideas, we can help improve mental healthcare for everyone and work towards a better future of care.