Mental health issues can make travelling difficult. About 1 in 4 adults have a diagnosable mental illness and many more struggle daily with mental health issues. This can make planning a trip, let alone going on one, a daunting task. However, with some preparation and planning, it is possible to travel safely and enjoyably. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Talk to your doctor before you go.
If you have a mental health condition, you must talk to your doctor before travelling. Make sure to bring copies of your medications and any other information about your situation that might be helpful. Your doctor can help you plan for any potential problems and ensure you have the resources you need while away.
Some people undergoing treatment will also need their healthcare providers’ permission before travelling. For example, if you are undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment, you will need approval from your treatment center before leaving. This is so that your treatment team can ensure you have the resources you need to stay sober while you are away.
It would be best if you also asked your doctor about any specific travel health risks relevant to your condition. For example, if you have anxiety, you might want to avoid flying or travelling to very crowded places. You should also make a plan if you have a mental health emergency while you are away from home.
2. Do your research.
Before you travel, it is essential to do your research and plan your trip. This is especially important if you go to an unfamiliar place or do not speak the language. Find out as much as possible about your destination and how to get around. Make sure you know where the nearest medical facilities are located.
If you are travelling with a mental health condition, it is also essential to research the local mental health resources in your destination. This way, you will know where to go if you have a mental health emergency while you are away. You may not always be able to find the same level of care that you are used to at home, but it is essential to know what resources are available.
3. Choose your destination wisely.
When choosing a destination, it pays to do your research. If you have a mental health condition, some destinations may better suit you than others. For example, if you have anxiety, you might want to avoid places that are very crowded or that have a lot of crime. If you have depression, you might want to choose a destination that has lots of activities and things to do.
It is also essential to consider the climate when choosing your destination. You may be more sensitive to extreme heat or cold, depending on your condition. If you have a mental health condition that is affected by weather changes, choosing a destination with weather that is conducive to your health is important.
4. Make sure you have travel insurance.
If you have a mental health condition, it is essential to make sure you have travel insurance. This will help cover the cost of any medical treatment you might need while away. It is also a good idea to have insurance if you need to cancel your trip due to your mental health condition.
Some mental health conditions will also require you to have a letter from your doctor confirming your situation and that you are fit to travel. This is usually the case for conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Check with your insurance company before you travel to see what documentation they require.
5. Avoid triggers.
Avoiding triggers that might worsen your condition when travelling with a mental health condition is essential. You cannot always control your environment, but there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure to triggers. For example, if you have anxiety, you might want to avoid flying or travelling to very crowded places. If you have depression, you might want to avoid destinations associated with sad memories.
Changes in routine also trigger many mental health conditions. If you can, try to stick to a similar routine while you are away as you do at home. This will help minimize the chances of your condition being triggered.
Travelling with a mental health condition can be challenging, but it is possible if you plan and take the necessary precautions. Following the tips above can help make your trip a success. Always remember to put your mental health first and seek professional help if you have difficulty managing your condition.