I can struggle through the flu at work but, if I’m having a day where my emotions are out of whack, works is the last place I want to be. It’s hard to focus on anything when your head and heart are screaming at you to give them some love.
We’ve all been there – we’ve all had days where our mental health has taken a dip (for whatever reason) and feel like we need to close the blinds, get in bed and shut out the world for a little bit.
As an adult who can make their own adult decisions, taking a mental health day is an easy enough thing to do. You don’t need to explain yourself. But as a high school student, you’re held much more accountable. Every day off needs to be backed up with a medical certificate and a parent signature in your school diary.
Basically, if you can’t prove you’re sick you’re in big trouble for ditching school. So mental health days are a no go.
A new law has just passed in Oregon, in the USA, which allows students to take five mental health days every three months. If the students miss a test, so be it. They will be granted permission to make them up another day.
Not only does this take away any stress or guilt student may be feeling for taking non-sick sick days off school, but it’s an important step in the right direction.
Suicide rates are at an all time high and, according to the World Health Organisation, mental health issues will be the leading cause of death among young people by 2020. The new law works to combat this growing crises by providing struggling students with an ‘out’ if they’re having a rough time. And, let’s be real, high school can be a pretty rough place.
The law also helps breakdown the stigma around mental health – looking after yourself is a good thing to do.
The law is the first of its kind in the United States. It highlights that mental health is just as important as physical health and should be treated as such.
A+ for progress.
A++ if Australia can also make this a thing.
If you or someone you love struggles with mental health, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.