A new whitepaper from Chubb suggests that students can experience mental health issues while studying abroad – an issue that educational institutions must urgently address.
The whitepaper – titled “Student Travel and Study Abroad: Mental Health Issues and Awareness,” authored by Chubb Accident & Health and International SOS – discusses relevant case studies, key considerations educational institutions should make in managing mental health risks for travelling students, and what academic institutions should look for when choosing insurance.
“Colleges and universities have a ‘Duty of Care’ obligation to assume responsibility in protecting their students from foreseeable health and security risks when students study abroad on school-sponsored or contracted programs,” commented Chubb North America accident & health division assistant vice-president Dean Hoski, who co-authored the paper.
Hoski explained that many schools purchase emergency travel assistance services and accident & health insurance. Such coverage is important, he notes, because “many domestic health insurance policies do not respond to risks associated with foreign travel, which may result in coverage gaps.”
“Many educational institutions are not equipped or even aware of how to provide access to mental health services to their students traveling abroad,” noted Robert L. Quigley, MD, D.Phil., International SOS Americas region professor of surgery, senior vice-president and regional medical director, who also co-authored the paper.
Quigley added that it is important for colleges and universities to collaborate with medical and travel security assistance providers, as well as insurance companies “with scholastic travel expertise” to help manage the mental risks students experience while travelling.
The paper concludes by recommending that educational institutions establish Duty of Care policies and procedures, create incident response plans and procedures, and develop a comprehensive travel program – which would include purchasing adequate insurance coverages.