Schools should recognize mental health days

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Your body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no signs of coughing, sneezing, or a stuffy nose. Everything seems normal, but you know you do not feel well. The weight of all the exhaustion and stress has piled on, pulling you down into a state of unmotivated despair. It is six in the morning, and you dread the thought of having to drag yourself through another day at school. It is scenarios like these that call for schools to consider allowing students to take mental health days.

When today’s students are constantly bogged down by massive amounts of homework and extracurricular obligations, among other things, the pressure to succeed inevitably takes a mental toll on them. Students often neglect their mental health in favor for tasks they deem more important, but it eventually catches up to them when they experience burnout. They become overwhelmed with their workload and struggle to concentrate on their work. At this point, forcing them to attend school just makes them feel worse; it is more beneficial for them to stay home and recover.

They need a break, and a mental health day provides exactly that. It gives the student a day to de-stress and re-energize. In doing so, the student is able to return to school rejuvenated and ready to work. A well-rested student means increased productivity, leading to better academic performance and behavior. It creates a win-win situation for everyone where the teacher can teach and the student can actively engage.                                                                     

However, mental health issues cannot be solved with just one day off from school. It is essential that the student make the most out of their mental health day. Sleeping and playing games all day may seem tempting, but the student should allocate some time to reflect on the underlying sources of their mental health issues. From there, they can figure out how to prevent mental exhaustion from happening again. The day can also be used to catch up on assignments or even get ahead, thus reducing any future stress.

By recognizing that mental health is a legitimate reason to miss class, the school sends a message to its students saying that mental health should be a priority. According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, 20 percent of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder. This staggering number indicates how schools should take significant steps in addressing this problem. While mental health days may not be the ultimate solution toward mental well-being, it is important for students to recognize when their brains need a breather and for schools to provide options for them to do so.

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