As in previous cycles, AFS staff must be informed right away in the event of reported or suspected suicidal ideation or intention, feelings of depression or anxiety, reported or suspected disordered eating, or any circumstance that indicates that the student may present a risk to the safety of others or to themselves. We recommend identifying mental health professionals in your area who could assist a student if needed. You can check your team’s crisis plan on your MyAFS area team page to make sure your team has mental health professionals identified in advance.
We anticipate lower-level challenges to student wellness and adjustment to be more common this year. For example, feelings of isolation, experiences of culture shock, and feelings of homesickness may be more common this cycle, and they may be felt more strongly by students this cycle due to the global pandemic. We encourage volunteers to pay close attention to indications that these challenges are taking place, and to report these challenges to your Support Coordinator or Support Specialist early on.
We encourage liaisons to consider providing their students and host families with a copy of the Emotional Passport which is intended to assist in providing various coping strategies for managing self-care and wellness. As a liaison, we want to ensure you are aware and feel empowered to utilize both the personal resources (your local team, AFS Staff) and virtual resources (MyAFS Help and Learning, other online platforms) available to you which serve to provide information, guidance and mentoring.
We encourage all liaisons to review and familiarize yourselves with the vast library of online Support resources/information found on MyAFS Help and Learning under Support Students as well as the COVID-19 FAQs and Resources.