Although mental health is often an afterthought in travel medicine, in fact, the psychiatric impact of travel is an area of growing interest, not only because of the prevalence of inter- national travelers from all sectors of the population, but also because of the changing nature of international travel. A recent Swiss travel clinic study of 22,584 travelers seeking pre- travel advice revealed the purposes of travel as follows: tourism, 81.5%; visiting friends and relatives, 7.8%; business, 5.6%; other (volunteer work, study, pilgrimage and so on), 5.1%. Although the majority of travel is still for tourism, increasingly, medical providers are called on to support people traveling for mission work, disaster relief, or military and para- military purposes. These changes make it critical for health providers involved in the support of travelers to be aware of common mental health problems that emerge during travel so that they can advise travelers on risks and offer effective support when problems emerge.
Read more of Sam Thielman’s observations on supporting expatriates abroad here: