OPINION: Students should be given ‘mental health days’ during the school year


Photo courtesy of Wokandapix

A lot of students struggle with mental health issues and have a hard time dealing with their mind and schoolwork.

By Ally Uhlendorf, Lead Features Editor

Mental health plays an important role  in people’s lives, especially teenager’s. With the anxiety felt from  school, friends, drama and family, student’s mental health issues can be extremely harmful and exhausting, especially in a time like this. Without being able to leave the house, and not being able to physically be  around people, many teens struggle with loneliness and depression while being isolated from the world. Schools should offer “mental health days” for students, just like sick days, that would be excused. 

Some schools across the country have already jumped on this new idea and provided students with the opportunity to take a certain amount of days off during the year for their mental health. 

According to Healthline.com in a November 2019 article, “Utah passed a bill that states students are allowed to take a mental health day as an excused absence from school.” 

Many students would benefit greatly from these breaks, especially with our current situation of life during a pandemic. It’s hard to sit in front of a computer screen the whole day, let alone not being able to socialize with other people. Students are tired, not just physically, but mentally. 

“Mental health days are not only good for the practical aspect of giving young people a break, but they also validate that the community and society are saying, ‘We understand and we’re supporting you in this way,’” Rutgers psychologist and associate professor, Caroline Clauss-Ehlers said. 

With the option of taking a couple of mental health days during the course of the school year, students will feel less overwhelmed and stressed. According to an Instagram poll taken by 150 West Essex students, 92% of them believe that students should be given a few mental health days a year. 

“Not only does distance learning put a lot of stress and anxiety on some students, so does regular school. I personally feel that a few mental health days may help students,” junior Caitlyn Mcmanus said. 

Students often feel overwhelmed with school work, which affects their performance throughout the year. 

“School takes a lot out of students and sometimes we just need days where we can relax and take time for ourselves. It could also help our overall performance in school,” freshman Gabi Dabek said. 

Having the option to take an occasional mental health day would improve the wellness of the student to a great extent. Yes, there are holidays and breaks, however, those can also carry their own stress with them for the student. A day dedicated to the emotional health of the students would be extremely beneficial during the course of the year.