Student Mental Health Days

Lily Mueller, J1 Guest Writer

  Kids go through a lot in their teenage years, and sometimes all they really need is a break from school and other responsibilities. Middle school and high school students are going through an overwhelming amount of changes, living under high amounts of stress, dealing with school problems, possible problems at home, and possibly mental health issues. All of these struggles can cause a tremendous amount of weight to build up on a student’s shoulders, and some time off would be just what they need to catch their breath and come back to school prepared and ready to learn. 


    School, as useful of a tool as it is, has a lot of downsides, one of them being the stress that it comes with. There are so many factors that can cause a kid, that sees their whole world revolve around school, to be anxious. They are expected to be social, have good grades, wake up early and be prepared for a long day of learning, do homework after school, hang out with friends, deal with issues at home, and so many other things. This is all a lot to expect from a child, and it is easy for a student to get blinded by all this pressure. Stress is healthy in small amounts, but when it becomes too much, it is fundamental that students are given an opportunity to have a break, meaning a mental health day. All they might need is some time to stay home and relax and get a grasp on their emotions. 

      Something that everyone should know by now, is that no one has a perfect life, no matter how great it may look. All teenagers are going through something at home, at least periodically. Some people may say that school is a great place for a kid to escape these issues and have an outlet where they forget about their problems, but that’s not always how it works. In fact, 1 in 5 young people have a mental health disorder (statistic), which seems shocking because a lot of the time they are invisible to someone on the outside. The point is, a large number of kids go through mental issues, and it is mandatory for them to have days off to focus on themselves. Maybe just an extended weekend could give them some much needed time to themselves. 

    Even though schools already offer a certain amount of days that students can miss, there are no dedicated days for mental health. Oftentimes a doctor’s note is mandatory for the absence to be excused, but it would be better if a teen was given the opportunity to just stay home without having it counted against them. It is normal for kids to need a break from school and stress, so let’s not pretend it is an outrageous suggestion that they take some time for themselves. It is crucial that students are made aware of the fact that it is okay for them to feel overwhelmed and take a break. They should be verbally offered these days, so they know the days are there for them when having a hard time mentally. For years and years people have ignored mental health, and it’s finally starting to be recognized as an issue, so let’s do something about it. 

    Mental health days should be explained to the students, including their purpose, how many they will have, what is needed for them not to be counted as absent, and how they will accomplish the work they missed. During a student’s elective class or advisory, there should be a presentation full of information needed regarding the mental health days they are being given. Students should not feel guilty or pitied when taking these days off, or be harassed by peers and counselors as to why they needed it. This opportunity is a great way for students to feel rejuvenated and appreciated by their school community.