International Graduate Students’ Mental Health Diagnoses, Challenges, and Support

A Descriptive Comparison to their Non-International Graduate Student Peers




Canada, international students, graduate students, National College Health Assessment, mental health, stress, help-seeking


Although there is a growing body of research that suggests the mental health of graduate students differs from that of their undergraduate counterparts, studies examining international students at the graduate level are scarce. This study therefore compares mental health diagnoses, challenges and stressors experienced, and use of mental health support, of international and non-international students who identified as being graduate/professional students. Data from the 2019 Canadian National College Health Assessment were used to compare the international graduate students (n = 1,876) to their non-international peers (n = 4,809). Significant differences were found on prevalence of conditions, certain specific challenges that are experienced, and help-seeking behaviours. Overall, international and non-international students may experience similar challenges, but international students are less likely to seek support. The findings suggest a need for graduate advisors and student affairs professionals to recognize the unique experiences of international graduate students particularly with their help-seeking behaviours. 

Author Biography

Kathleen Clarke, Wilfrid Laurier University

Kathleen Clarke, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University. She teaches in the Student Affairs Field of Study in the Master of Education program. Her research focuses on understanding the unique challenges experienced by specific populations of postsecondary students, and how these different groups can be further supported. To date, her work has focused on graduate students, students with disabilities, international students, and students with mental health conditions.


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How to Cite

Clarke, K. (2023). International Graduate Students’ Mental Health Diagnoses, Challenges, and Support: A Descriptive Comparison to their Non-International Graduate Student Peers. Journal of International Students, 13(3), 280–304.



Research Articles