Support for Mental Health Days Off from School is Growing

More experts are supporting mental health days from school, which are excused absences because children are experiencing anxiety or depression, as the COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness of children’s mental health issues.

According to Christine M. Nicholson, a clinical child psychologist in Kirkland, Washington, “mental health has to be valued as much as physical health,” she said. “Kids need a vacation since they are going through a hard period.”

She suggested that kids who are feeling nervous or depressed take a hike, watch a movie, or even stay in and bake a cake or watch a movie.

According to Matt Shenker, a former elementary school counsellor who now works as a resident in counselling at Thriveworks, a persistently stressed brain is not in learning mode; rather, it is in survival mode.

There is a case to be made that providing students with mental health days helps teaching and learning go more smoothly because reduced chronic stress will help students acquire topics more quickly and retain them for longer.

According to Very Well Mind, 12 states—Washington, California, Illinois, Maine, Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Kentucky—have laws allowing for mental health days. Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are among the states that are exploring mental health days.

Parents must sign a statement excuseing their child from school in states that have enacted the regulations, according to The Post. The number of mental health days a child may request is one of the many policies that differ.

California state senator Anthony Portantino says COVID brought attention to the issue when he filed the bill there in 2021.

The epidemic made the problem worse, but if it can speed up the solution, that’s a good thing, he said.

Vivek H. Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, declared a mental health crisis for American children in a report released in December 2021. “Recognize that mental health is an integral aspect of total health,” he pleaded with Americans.

According to Barb Solish, director of Youth and Young Adult Initiatives for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, students can take the time they need to take care of themselves and recover their health with the aid of school policies that acknowledge mental health as an acceptable reason for absence.

In general, if you have a fever, you probably aren’t paying attention in class. You’re failing to retain the lesson. You won’t be able to study if your anxiety is crippling.

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