A mental health day is definitely needed for students


Illustration by Rebecca Newman

Students need a break from the stress of online school.

Asiyah Ally, Social Media Team Member

Mental health. I either just intrigued you, bored you, or scared you off. Mental health seems to be a touchy subject that everyone is talking about lately, especially those involved with high school students. 

Many students complain that they don’t have enough time to focus on themselves. What about schools providing students with a mental health day? A day for self care, away from school. Now that’s intriguing.

Almost everyone has struggled with their mental health at one point or another. We all know the experience of having one bad day, or a full month of bad days. Mental health struggles are different for everyone, but they are all valid. 

One thing’s for sure: everyone needs a break. Students are struggling, for a variety of reasons. Not only is there the pressure of school work, but students are currently living through one of the toughest moments in American history due to the coronavirus pandemic and political climate. 

The uncertainty of whether or not an eventful day will pop up leaves students incredibly drained.

Getting a break from school when an impactful event occurs, such as during or after the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, would have been very beneficial. This would have allowed students to distract themselves and relax. 

According to the CDC, Children’s emergency room visits related to mental health were 44 percent higher in 2020 than in 2019. Contrary to popular belief, young people are not exempt from the emotions that come as a result of the world we live in. Mental health days would take some stress off of their backs. 

Mental health days would also be beneficial to school staff. Teachers are struggling too, as this time is stressful for everyone. They benefit from students’ welfare as well. Because students would most likely be more well rested after a mental health day, they will most likely be more motivated, and in result will have an increase in the quality of their work.

According to The News and Observer, some states, such as Oregon, Maine, Colorado and Virginia, have started allowing students to stay home “sick” for a mental health day. The Oregon law allows for five excused absences, including sick days and mental health days, over a three-month period. If more excused absences are needed, the student must get a note from their doctor.

Another option for mental health days is that students would have their own set of mental health days and cash them in when needed. Each quarter students may get two mental health days. There are so many ways that mental health days could be implemented, all of which are very beneficial.

While excused absences are good, they don’t help ease workload. Students still have to make up any work missed during their excused absence. With the scheduled mental health days, no work would be assigned, which means less stress for students.

Scheduled mental health days need to be implemented at a district level for all students and staff, and the Board of Education must take action immediately. 

These new days off would occur every month. They could happen on Fridays as an extension of the weekend, or on Wednesdays as a break from the school week. Training would be provided for teachers so they can guide students on self care.

Everyone’s mental health is different and unpredictable, but it could help students to know that there are days they can use for themselves. The Board of Education can help make 2021 a better year, and prioritize the mental health of its community. Let’s start having mental health days.