Management strategies for Carl

A current problem or previous history of a mental health problem is not an absolute barrier to travel. When discussing with Carl about planning a trip he needs to be aware of the following points:

Pre-Travel

  • Ensure that his journey is well thought out and advise him to devise “What if” plans for coping with delays
  • If fear of flying is a major cause of anxiety, several airlines run courses to combat this
  • Advise Carl to find out how to access medical facilities, including mental health services during travel
  • Advise him to take out adequate travel insurance which specifically covers mental health issues

Medication

Ensure you give Carl enough of his regular medication for the total duration of his trip ONLY if you consider it safe to do so; an additional 1-2 weeks could be carried in case medication is lost or stolen.

  • Advise him that medication should be carried in hand luggage in original containers, appropriately labelled
  • He should carry a repeat prescription slip detailing all medication and dosages – see travelling with medicines

Certain prescribed medicines are called ‘controlled drugs’, for example strong painkillers or opiate substitutes. This means there are additional laws around their use (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). If Carl is entering or leaving the UK with controlled drugs, (Medikanet is a controlled drug) there are specific rules that he must follow. This can be accessed through the websites discussed previously.

  • If he is seeing a psychiatrist or community psychiatric nurse, advise him to schedule a review with them before the trip

Stigma

We should make Carl aware that attitudes to mental illness vary between countries and in many severe stigma and discrimination exist.