Oregon is now the second state in the US to allow students to take what they are calling ‘Mental Health Sick Days’ and some worry this will lead to more kids skipping school.
Personally, I think this is a pretty good idea. Though my sons are likely too young to feel the stress and pressures of school life, my teenage daughter is not. We’ve discussed the challenges kids face and it’s a whole lot more than homework and getting good grades. These kids are also trying to figure out themselves and the fast-paced world around them.
If that wasn’t enough, more students are suffering from anxiety, depression, bullying, peer pressure, family conflicts, and the untold toll of social media. So, I’m seeing the purpose of mental health days as a way for kids to say “time out – I need a break from all of this”.
What About the Critics Who Feel Kids Will Miss More School?
Some critics worry this will open the door to kids as an excuse to skip school. However, those in favor of the idea believe it will not. Face it, if a kid really wants to skip school, they’ll figure out a way to do it – or just fake sick. But mental health days are a new way for children to self-reflect and acknowledge they are having problems. And, in my opinion, mental health should be treated just like physical health.
What Do You Do If Your Child Is Physically Ill?
If your kid is sick, you usually keep them home from school and take care of them until they are better. The same should be true for emotional health. If measures like this are not put in place, we could find ourselves facing a severe youth mental health crisis. The CDC reports that more and more children are diagnosed with anxiety and depression each year, and suicide rates are on the rise. This is why mental health needs to be discussed openly and taken seriously.
Kids don’t understand what’s going on inside them a lot of the time. All they know is that they feel anxious, their stomach hurts, they’re sad, or all they want to do is sleep. If you notice these coming up as patterns or if your kid says they don’t want to go to school it’s time for a talk. Parents – really listen to get to the bottom of what’s going on. That’s the first step in helping your child while letting them know you think their mental health is very important.e. They just know their stomach hurts, they feel anxious, they’re sad, or they just want to sleep.
If you notice these or they say they don’t want to go to school, then parents, you need to talk with your child. And really listen to find out what’s going on. That’s the first step in helping your child and letting them know that their mental health is very important.