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I Give My Kids as Many Mental Health Days as They Need and I Have No Regrets

I take mental health very seriously as someone who has lived with an anxiety disorder her entire life. I raise my children with the belief that mental health is just as essential as physical health. My children’s mental health is more important to me than their grades or whether or not they attend school regularly.

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One of my sons tends to get very stressed out about schoolwork

This was particularly true as he approached middle school. He’s a perfectionist at heart, so the additional workload was a lot for him. He’d have numerous assignments due at the same time and be so overwhelmed by the prospect of not only completing them but doing it flawlessly that he’d freeze up and be unable to do anything.

Now, I don’t believe that running away from your troubles is a good idea, but when my kid was petrified by fear, the best thing for him to do was take a day off from school to relax and regroup. For him, it had become somewhat of a ritual. He would take a mental health day around once a month.

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They were a life-changer

A mental health day, if it were up to him, would consist of him spending 10 hours in his PJs playing video games. And, while I let him do a lot of it, he also spent some time talking to me about his feelings and devising a strategy for dealing with the overwhelming task.

Those mental health days, I’m confident, were what got him through middle school. My kid, now a high school freshman, appears to be much better at managing his workload as well as his feelings about it. Apart from that, providing him with mental health days taught him a crucial lesson: that taking care of his mental health was a must.

Unfortunately, his teachers weren’t always on board with this strategy. When my kid was on Zoom last year, it was difficult to justify his mental health absences. I would occasionally ask his professors to excuse his homework on days when he needed mental health breaks, and many of them refused. When he experienced a medical issue that kept him out of school, such as a stomach pain, or when he had COVID vaccination side effects, they were more likely to excuse his work. On the other hand, on days when he is suffering from mental illness, this is not the case.

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This needs to change

Kids are experiencing more mental health problems than ever before, especially since the epidemic, and they need to feel comfortable taking a day off now and again to recover and take a breather.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Illinois is prioritising mental health for children by allowing up to five excused mental health days per year. Furthermore, after a kid has taken their second mental health day, a school counsellor will contact them and assist them in locating mental health resources if necessary.

Illinois isn’t the only state that allows for mental health days to be taken off. Similar rules exist in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia. That, however, is insufficient. This should be a thing all over the place.

The children are feeling overburdened. They need to take a break from the grind of school every now and then. Not only that, but if schools are in the business of preparing students for successful lives, one of the most crucial teachings is to teach them to take their mental health seriously.

FAQ

  1. Should mental health days be excused absences?

    Allowing excused absences for mental health days might help prevent significant problems or make treatment easier, according to her. She recommended schools to provide counselling on campus wherever possible, whether through their own staff or community-based professionals.

  2. Are mental health days a thing?

    In the United States, a person does not need a mental health day if they are not suffering from a mental illness. Workplace stressors and life events that are emotionally difficult to deal with without taking time off are both valid reasons to take a mental health day.

  3. What are the two most common mental health problems?

    Mental health issues are extremely common.
    Anxiety and depression are the most frequent problems, affecting roughly one out of every ten persons at any given time. What are the effects of mental illness on people? Anxiety and sadness can be severe and long-lasting, affecting people’s capacity to function in society.

  4. How often should you take mental health days?

    You may avoid burnout and stay healthy intellectually, emotionally, and physically by taking mental health days on a regular basis (Knight suggests one per quarter). However, if you are frequently burned out at work—or in your personal life—it may be time to see a therapist or psychiatrist.

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