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Why should students have mental health days

 Why schools are increasingly providing mental health days for students

Lawmakers across the country make it easier for students to take a day off from school to gain mental health, with parental consent. And mental health advocates say that this is an acceptable step that will help students to break free and avoid serious problems, while minimizing discrimination that would prevent young people from seeking professional help with anxiety, depression or other problems if they need it.

Up to 1 in 5 children have a mental illness, according to Margaret Cochran, a mental health professional in San Jose, California. And almost everyone experiences different types of stress and depression.

“Having mental health days allowed on the school calendar is very desirable. What matters is how you spend your days, ”said Cochran, who has a master's degree in education, social work and psychology, and a doctorate in transpersonal psychology.

When Mental Health America, a national rights organization, surveyed teens, asking what could best help their mental health, more than half said they would like to take a break from school or work. And when Harris Poll interviewed more than 1,500 young people in May 2020, 78% said that schools should allow mental health days for students to take care of themselves.

However, it is important that students do not use a mental health day to avoid it. Children who are concerned about dropping out of school need to go to school, says Cochran, who calls it an adult's job to help a child learn strength in difficult times. "That's what helps them stay strong."

On the other hand, if a student has just finished a series of tests and needs a day off to reduce stress, that's fine. "It is important for children to have access to breaks as adults do," he said.

Minnesota has led the way in expelling students from a mental health class more than a decade ago, with increasing laws saying they already have excuses for dealing with the acquired mental illness. That’s a different problem than allowing a mental health day to be postponed and reorganized.

The New York Times reported that two years ago, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia passed laws that allowed children to miss school because of mental or moral health.
Number of epidemics

Education Week recently reported on the trend and how children show that they need a day off: “They miss class. Their homework is weak or non-existent. They are tired, not focused. As schools increase their support, one simple, tangible step is becoming popular: Allowing absenteeism on sick days. ”

And the pressure created by COVID-19 has increased demand.

Mental health problems began during the epidemic - and are not limited to children or young people. A recent American Family Survey published by Deseret News and BYU found that the majority of Americans did not seek mental health care, but half of the adults surveyed said that their mental health was poor. And half of those people didn't get the care they said they needed.

Experts say the epidemic was as severe for children as it was for adults - and perhaps even more, with school closures and canceled events. But it did not take the epidemic to create a mental health problem among American teenagers, with unprecedented numbers dealing with anxiety and depression, as Deseret News reported in the 2018 project.

Young people want to play a bigger role in their mental health, according to a 2020 study by Mental Health America, which found that almost half of teens would like to learn to take care of their mental health needs. Mental health days are an example of taking that step.

A report by Mental Health America states that very young people need “support for their mental health, mental health education opportunities, networking with a community of mental health representatives and training to support the mental health of their peers.”

In addition to giving young people much-needed rest, it is believed that allowing mental health days will help reduce stigma associated with mental health and mental illness, allowing young people to ask for and receive help before a major catastrophe.

Although “popular culture tends to portray mental health days with spirit quotes and eye-catching, excuses for healthy people to play hooky at work, taking 'stress-stricken' days from time to time can be one effective way to manage emotions and stress,” as Jill Cook said. , executive director of the American School Counselor Association told Church Education Secretary Catherine Gewertz.

He also said that these days are not meant for those who avoid school.

As EducationWeek reported, “Many of these rules allow parents to report such absences. But experts and policy makers do not seem to worry too much about policies being misused. ”
Need assessment

"It's important to talk to children and listen to their concerns, and take them seriously," Cochran told Deseret News. "I hear people say, 'You're still growing up' or 'You're a child's problem.' It's a big problem for that child," he added. “Children are often stressed when they first face challenges. It's important. ”

How can you tell if a day off is needed?

Cochran said children - especially those 12 years of age and younger - can play the pressure by isolating themselves, or getting angry or clinging. They may experience headaches, stomach aches, or sleep disturbances. Parents should take time to observe what is happening.

Young children cannot see what is worrying unless their parents ask them specific questions, Cochran said. “They will tell you if you say anything. Young people are very concerned about appearing inadequate or seemingly dependent on adults. And they are afraid of being denied their freedom. If it's a bad thing at a party, for example, or with friends, they worry that they won't be allowed to party or friends. ”

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