Why Are Mental Health Days Necessary?


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High schoolers are at risk of developing mental health issues, which are not treated the same as physical health. So, some public schools have proposed that high schoolers should be allowed to take up to five mental health days off per semester to improve academic performance. Photo courtesy of www.istockphoto.com.

It is no secret that students in America, regardless of age, are experiencing a mental health crisis. According to a recent study by the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in five teenagers and young adults encounter a mental health challenge at some point in their lives, with half of those challenges appearing by the age of 14. Given the increasing academic pressure, extracurricular commitments, and social pressures, it should not be surprising that students occasionally feel overburdened and stressed. Therefore, it is time for schools to start prioritizing mental health days for their students.

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can result from academic stressors like demanding coursework, standardized tests, and college admissions accumulates and becomes overwhelming. Additionally, social stressors such as bullying, peer pressure, and the worry of exclusion or marginalization can have a negative impact on a student’s mental health.  

In light of this, it’s critical to understand that mental health days can be very helpful for students who are having a hard time managing these stressors. Schools can give students the time and space they need to rest and refocus by offering a day off from class devoted solely to mental health. 

Additionally, mental health days can aid in lowering the stigma associated with mental health problems in educational settings. Prioritizing student mental health sends a strong message that mental and physical health are equally important, and that seeking support for mental health issues is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Schools can foster a climate of care and support that will enable students to succeed in all facets of their lives by starting these conversations early and giving students the necessary tools to take care of their mental health.

Noting the difficulties involved in implementing mental health days in schools is important. Coordinating schedules and ensuring that all students have access to resources they need to succeed in today’s world can be challenging for schools. Additionally, there is a chance that students may use mental health days as a justification to skip class or avoid their obligations. However, these difficulties can be overcome with good planning and communication.

Overall, mental health days are a valuable and necessary addition to today’s school environments and schools must prioritize students’ mental health given the mounting pressures, in order to provide students with the resources and support they require.