Online Originals: Mental health days in schools

Online Originals

Most of us are familiar with school sick days, which allow a student to stay home if feeling physically unwell. Now, one state is recognizing a different form of excused absence.

This year, the state of Oregon began allowing their students to take mental health days. Allowed up to 5 excused absences every 3 months, this new plan sheds light on the importance of mental health in youth.

“I just think it’s a step forward to recognize that mental health and physical health shouldn’t be separate. And to recognize that if students have mental health problems they need to get them treated, and they need to have time to do that.”

– John Diamond, ECU Professor / Director of Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Mental health is a concerning issue for many children and teens. According to WebMD, the suicide rate of children ages 10 to 17 has gone up by 30% in the last 10 years.

Diamond says that common mental illnesses seen in students are usually depression and anxiety-related. He says just because they’re often dealt with internally and can’t be seen, they still need to be taken just as seriously as other bodily tissues.

If you feel strongly about implementing mental health days into your child’s schooling, you can bring the issue up at your county’s next school board meeting.

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