When you're in crisis or feeling overwhelmed, it's essential to take the time to look after yourself. Mary Giliberti, Vice President of Policy at Mental Health America, suggests that schools should consider their mental health programs as a spectrum that includes prevention, recognition, and services. Schools should have policies in place that recognize mental health symptoms and treatment as an acceptable reason for taking time off school. This way, students can take the necessary time to manage their mental health without fear of stigma or discrimination. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and good mental health has a positive effect on the educational outcomes of young people and adolescents.
In some states, laws have been passed that allow students to use mental or behavioral health needs as an excusable absence. Even if a student doesn't have a mental health condition, they may still need a day or two to manage their mental health. At present, less than half of states have legislation on mental health days. However, more and more states are allowing students to use mental health as a valid excuse for taking time off school. This is an important step in helping young people take care of their mental health and get the support they need.