Mental health and study abroad

Is there someone in your family who has a passport (or can get one) and would be willing to go to Paris in case your daughter has an emergency and needs assistance getting home? When my daughters did their study abroad programs, my brother agreed to be available to help them, if need be. (I don’t have a passport and hate flying.) I said I would pay for his trip, of course.

Please keep us posted. I wish all the best for your daughter and hope she does well! I think many of us will be facing similar situations.

Is your daughter worried about not having a therapist? Sometimes for maintenance, meds are sufficient, and the stimulation of a new environment heads off depression for awhile too.

You haven’t given much information on the program she will be in. Is it structured and staffed by the originating school here iin the US? Is there a group going, with people she already knows? Will she be in a dorm, with a family, or off campus on her own? What resources for counseling or support are provided either by the US school or the French one? Etc.

One of my kids has a seizure disorder. It felt risky when she wanted to go to Europe to do grad work. But I reasoned that if she stays absolutely safe all the time, her life will suffer. Most of all, it was up to her.

Since she wanted to do it so badly, and is a mature person, I resolved not to show too much anxiety and project confidence in her plan. Logistics need to be checked out but overall I would maybe tell your daughter that she might do fine on meds without her current therapist, and ask her to find out who she can talk to if she does run into a spot of trouble, in the new environment. But convey your faith along with being available if problems arise: a tricky balance.

I don’t know that much about the program yet, because she has just finished applying. It’s Wellesley-in-Aix, a well-established, well-regarded program that I didn’t feel the need to investigate before letting her apply. I’ve read the website, of course, but don’t have the gritty details yet. Her classes will be at Aix-Marseilles University and she has the option of living in a dorm or staying with a family. The family stay wouldn’t be for the whole year, which is unfortunate, because that is what makes these study abroad programs so fantastic.But there are some top medieval scholars at AMU, and since that is her field, she really wants to go. She was choosing her courses for this program in her mind as soon as she decided to attend Wellesley.

I don’t know if she will know anyone on the program the year she goes, but I don’t think that matters to her. She’s very good at plunging into things that interest her. Really, her “crazy” is all about her intense perfectionism and the occasional existential crisis. I do wonder if she might be just fine without therapy for a while. There’s a part of me that thinks she just needs to go a little wild, drink some good French wine, eat fabulous food, make a few Bs or even Cs and step outside of herself for a little while. There will be pressure on her, but it will be different from the familiar academic pressure she has known her whole life.

Oh, and the fees do cover emergency repatriation insurance, and both my husband and I have valid passports.

There should be a decent amount of english-speakers, expats love the south-east. Try googling expat communities there, they should be able to advise you (you don’t have to go into details or give your D’s info or anything if you don’t want to, you can just ask for general information on english-speaking family doctors ; once you find one they’ll direct you to their colleagues in the area).

Sounds like a great, challenging program! It is great that your daughter has sought help for her issues before going abroad. Hopefully talk therapy has helped her recognize her triggers and develop better coping mechanisms for anxiety. If she decides to discontinue therapy while abroad, I would still have the resources in place if she needs it.The potential for skype sessions/emergency contact with the home therapist and/or finding a therapist in France. The US consulate list of medical providers lists a therapist based in Aix, or contact the resident staff for suggestions. Even if she doesn’t end up needing it, it can be comforting to know she has options and support.

@meow15, thanks so much for that link! The psychotherapist listed for Aix specializes in treating English-speaking university students, so that would work well if D did need counseling.