- Utah and Oregon allow students to take mental health days as excused absences from school.
- Behavior and personality changes, becoming isolated, being easily irritated, and experiencing frequent headaches and stomachaches may be signs that your child needs a mental health day.
In response to the rising rates of depression and suicide among young people in the United States, some states are taking action.
In 2018, Utah passed a bill that states students are allowed to take a mental health day as an excused absence from school. Oregon followed Utah’s lead in 2019 when it enacted a similar law.
“This is a great idea, particularly for adolescents and teens, because depression and anxiety has so much prevalence among these age groups,” Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, PhD, psychologist and associate professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, told Healthline.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that 1 in 6 children between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
“Mental health days are not only good for the practical aspect of giving young people a break, but they also validate that the community and society are saying, ‘We understand and we’re supporting you in this way,’” said Clauss-Ehlers.
“For schools to recognize that sometimes it’s better to take a mental health day than push through when you cannot seem to cope, is a tremendous support for students to feel understood and accepted, and [this, in turn, encourages] students to understand and accept themselves more,” Dry told Healthline.