The pandemic has made it clear that young people are facing a mental health crisis, and the rates of anxiety and depression are only continuing to rise. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in six children between the ages of six and seventeen experience some kind of mental health disorder each year.
Some states are now allowing students to take mental health days as a form of support. Utah passed a bill in 2018 stating that students could take a mental health day, which would count as an excused absence. In 2019, Oregon announced a similar bill. In the past, excused absences were limited to things like physical illnesses or a doctor’s appointment.
Everyone needs a day off once in a while to chill out and recharge, even children. There are many reasons why mental health days are necessary. But how can you tell if your child or teen really needs to take a mental health day and are not just trying to get out of a test?
First, let’s discuss why your child might need a break from school. For one, the pressure to succeed academically is stressful. With more and more people going to college, competition is fierce.
Kids feel compelled to get good grades, get accepted into certain schools, or to please their parents. And if they fall short of expectations, they can be extremely hard on themselves. Having some breathing room away from all that can be very beneficial.
Next, family situations, such as when parents get divorced or a family member becomes ill, can cause children to experience anxiety.
This is because they’re uncertain about what will happen in the future, and it may be that they need to step into a new role/routine as a result of the situation. So, anxiety is a typical response to traumatic changes.
Furthermore, if your child already has an existing mental health condition, they may need to take mental health days more frequently.
Then, there are relationship struggles. If your kid has a falling out with a friend or is experiencing a breakup, it can give them a lot of stress. At this stage in their lives, kids are learning to navigate relationships, so when something goes wrong, it’s a big deal to them.