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Mental Health Days For Students

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Mental Health Days For Students

School can be a challenging environment, especially for students dealing with mental health conditions or trauma. Mental health days offer students a break and help them heal emotionally.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one out of every six children experience a mental health disorder each year and more than half of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by age 14. This puts children under incredible strain from stress and anxiety from an early age – creating chronic stress which may be difficult to overcome and even lead to serious issues down the line.

States across the country are passing laws that enable students to take mental health days, similar to how sick days work. This gives children a break from their regular schedule without fear of missing work, though not without some limitations.

Sarah Spannagel, associate professor of education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, warns that students should not use a mental health day as an excuse to avoid classes and assignments. “Students need to understand that taking mental health days should never be used as an excuse,” she advises.

Spannagel does acknowledge that it may be beneficial for students to skip class on mental health days in order to address more complex issues than just skipping classes. These individuals may require a more long-term solution when managing their condition, she noted.

However, she cautions that this approach can be risky since it fails to address the underlying cause of a student’s distress.

Watch for signs that a student may be struggling and take time to talk with them about it. Make sure students know they can reach out if they require extra support when needed; calling either their teachers or principal can be extremely helpful in this regard.

They must also recognize they are not alone in their struggles and it’s normal for them to feel stressed, overwhelmed or depressed.

Many of these issues can be addressed and healed through medication, therapy, counseling or other professional care. Unfortunately, these services are in short supply across America.

Recently, several states have passed laws allowing students to take mental health days: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.

Studies have also demonstrated that students who take mental health days often experience an improvement in their academic performance, as well as their mood and self-worth.

Parents must be mindful of the potential repercussions that could result from allowing their child to use a mental health day as an excuse to avoid school. Studies have revealed that some students may use these days as ways to avoid responsibility during times of increased stress, which could negatively impact learning and test performance.

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