By James Yankech, PhD, Senior Vice President for Client Relations


Eating disorder (ED) symptoms can be prevalent among college students and one demographic in particular may be more vulnerable: international students. Elements such as language barriers, a general lack of understanding regarding mental health, unawareness of access to health facilities, as well as the fear of losing their student visa are all contributing factors for this particular population.

I’ll be discussing this topic at this year’s Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo, along with my co-presenters: Eating Recovery Center’s (ERC) National Collegiate Outreach Director, Casey Tallent, PhD, and Yu Yun Liu, PhD, a clinical counselor for the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. NAFSA unites nearly 10,000 attendees each year from more than 3,500 institutions and organizations from more than 100 countries. This year’s event, called “Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment,” takes place between May 27 and June 1, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Our session: “Eating Disorders and Co-Occurring Concerns in International and Diverse Students” is the result of a one-year working relationship between ERC and Relation Insurance Services that has focused on addressing the importance of eating disorders and other mental health issues on college campuses. ERC works to help college and universities identify signs and symptoms of eating disorders and co-occurring concerns and be able to develop policies and guidelines to support all students with these issues, including the often underserved international student population. Teaming up with ERC has given Relation the opportunity to better educate our clients on possible ways to support international and diverse students with eating disorders through various means, such as campus services, telehealth options, and insurance policies.

We’ll present during the Global Partner Session, tomorrow, May 31, from 9:00 A.M. to 10:15 A.M. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 112B. Our session will address the following: 1) how schools can understand mental health concerns facing international students including eating disorders; 2) identify the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and co-occurring concerns; and 3) develop the right policies and guidelines to support students with eating disorders and co-occurring concerns. We’ll be presenting case studies, along with viable solutions as part of our presentation and look forward to a productive discussion with attendees. We hope you can join us.

For event registration, and more information on the session, please follow this link.

To read the press release, click here.