One New England State Considering Excused Mental Health Days For Students
The Quiet Side Effect of The Pandemic
Even though I don’t have kids of my own, I think about kids a lot these days. I think about how I would have handled the pandemic as a child. I think, at first, doing school from home would have been great. I would imagine I would have been in my grandparent’s care, zipping through what I had to do for work, and then watching TV and hanging out.
That “freedom” would have worn off quickly though. I would have missed my friends. I would have missed art class. School concerts. Even the crappy pizza served on Fridays.
Once back in school I would have hated the distance. How impersonal things would have become in my small tight-knit school. Sitting 6-feet apart at lunch. I would have hated wearing a mask. Even though I, like many, didn’t love school, the pandemic would have sucked all of the fun elements out of the day-to-day routine.
All that to say, I’d bet money my mental health would have suffered.
Additionally, knowing how I reacted after 9/11 is very telling. I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade. Just old enough to have that perfect mix of awareness and fear of the unknown to be worried. Much more worried than an 11-year-old should have been.
As the years go on and advances are made in the world of mental health and psychology we have more of an understanding and acceptance of mental health than ever before. Mostly gone are the days of “Suck it up and deal,” in favor of a more gracious approach.
More than ever it’s normalized to acknowledge one’s mental health struggles. Things like depression and anxiety are common and as each year passes by the stigmas surrounding those and other diagnoses begin to loosen their hold on society.
We acknowledge that even without a diagnosis we all have seasons of struggle because it’s life. None of us make it out alive.
Mental Health Days
Massachusetts is considering offering their students 2 mental health days without a doctor’s note or parental explanation every 6 months, according to CBS Boston. Representative Tami Gouveia is behind Bill H.3782, An Act Providing Mental Health Sick Days To Public School Students. This bill would amend the existing wording of Section 1 chapter 76 of the General Laws specifying that excused absences from public school, “shall include absences for the mental or behavioral health of the student.”
CBS Boston reports that this idea wasn’t actually born from the pandemic but was recommended by a local high school pre-pandemic. COVID-19, however, brought the need for such a law to the forefront.
Again thinking back to my own youth, this makes total sense. Mental health is still part of health. I took mental health days as a child only I disguised them by saying my stomach hurt or I had a headache. I’m sure there were times where my mental health manifested in not feeling well physically. In a time where schoolwork can easily be done from home, I think this is a great idea. What do you think? Let us know through our app below.