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Treating depression abroad

How to ensure you get the right treatment while you’re living away from home

If you’re an expat experiencing symptoms of depression, a primary care doctor can often connect you with the right local health care providers for treatment. You can also turn to us for knowledgeable resources and finding professionals near you to help.

Here are some of the different types of providers you might be referred to. They work together to ensure you get the best care.


  • A psychiatrist has a medical degree (MD) and extra training in the study of mental health conditions. Psychiatrists can:
  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Determine whether medication might help
  • Prescribe and monitor medication
  • Provide psychotherapy


A psychologist has a master’s degree (MS) or doctorate (PhD /PsyD) in psychology. Psychologists are not medical doctors, so they usually do not prescribe medication. They can:

  • Conduct psychological testing
  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Provide talk therapy (counselling)
  • Refer you to a psychiatrist for medication

Licenced counsellors, therapists and social workers

These professionals have a master’s degree (MS) or other graduate-level certification. This includes an internship and one or more years of supervised practice. They can:

  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Provide talk therapy (counseling)
  • Offer a specialised counselling focus such as family therapy

Psychiatric nurse practitioners

A psychiatric nurse is a registered nurse (RN) with additional graduate-level education in mental health. They can:

  • Assess psychiatric conditions
  • Prescribe and monitor medication
  • Follow up with medication management and coordination of care

Our CARE team can help you find the right professionals in your area and other resources to combat depression while abroad. Contact Aetna International in your region.

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

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