New York Considers Giving Students Mental Health Days

Depression and anxiety occur at high rates among students. Whether it’s dealing with the pressures of school and social life, or worrying about the state of the world, children have a great deal of weight on their shoulders. In some cases, taking a day off from school can help a student recharge and can help reduce the effects of depression and anxiety. However, most schools do not consider mental health as a valid reason to miss school. A new bill introduced in New York aims to change that.

Mental Health Days

Suicide is the second leading cause of deathamong children age 10-18. The number of children and teens treated for suicidal ideations has nearly doubled. It is clear that there is a desperate need for mental health care. If students cannot take a day from school to treat their mental health issues, then the problem can be compounded. Mental health days are important to a student’s well-being. If a student is experiencing a day where their depression or anxiety is overwhelming, they shouldn’t be forced by school policy to go to school. They should be given the opportunity to get help.

Two states have already adopted policies that would allow students to take mental health days. In Oregon, students are allowed five mental health days during a three-month period. In addition, Utah now recognizes mental health as a valid reason for missing school.

New Bill

A new bill introduced in New York would make mental or behavioral health an acceptable excuse for missing school. The hope is that children will not be penalized for taking care of their mental well-being. In addition, mental health days could be used to help school personnel and staff identify individuals who need further care and attention. Schools should have appropriately trained staff who can help students receive the care they need to avoid excessive absenteeism.

Some parents support the idea of mental health days, while others fear that students will take advantage of the plan. However, students who need mental health days often lie about being sick in order to miss school anyway. Providing designated mental health days could help prevent the lies and alert parents to the fact that their children may need help.

If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.

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