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The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

You are never alone

Offering mental health days to help students struggling with mental health
Sophia Eljamal
There are many options for students struggling with mental health such as mental health days, school services, medications, and therapy.

In 2022, a survey expressed that 77% of students had feelings of psychological distress. Between finishing a tough assignment to struggling to complete a ten-page project, obstacles in a student’s everyday life may cause a decrease in their mental health, making it harder to complete simple or complex tasks.

Many states have considered the proposal of creating mental health days, of course with certain restrictions on them. 13 states now allow this idea, while 36 states voted against it. The law varies in each of the states it is allowed in, based on how many mental health days you are allowed and how it will affect your attendance. Most students feel that this option of mental health days is necessary because they are the ones who are affected by their mental health the most due to the immense amount of stress put on them. It affects their grades, their social lives and their mindsets. Although, students are not the only ones who think mental health days are necessary. A poll conducted in 2022 shows that 75% of parents said their children’s school should offer mental health days and 56% of parents said that they let their kids have a mental health day whether the school allows it or not. 

In the United States, it is required that kids finish school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Although the heavy changes in students’ mental health usually don’t show up until the later years, it can affect them. CDC states that over one in five teens ages 13-18 have struggled with a serious mental illness in their lives. Even though it seems easier to push your feelings to the side rather than navigate them, the long-term effects can be damaging and permanent. Choosing to take a mental health day will benefit you in many ways such as feeling less burnout, improving resiliency and attitude, preventing deeper issues concerning mental health, etc. At the end of the day, your mental health can reflect how many things are in your life and how you decide on certain things. Taking a day off of school once in a while is just a way to decompress and you shouldn’t be looked down on for needing a break

If you are going to take a mental health day, you might as well make it count. You are missing a whole eight hours of school and burying yourself in social media will not benefit you in any way. Mental health days are to help your mental state, not to catch up on homework.  Practicing mindfulness and calm activities that boost your mood such as painting, drawing, reading or even exercising can benefit your mood. These days should be encouraged for both the parents and children’s sake. Using coping skills helps improve the practice of mental health and even if it is just as much as missing a couple of classes or sleeping in allows a little more time for you to feel like you can reset and get yourself together. 

There are many ways to get help with your mental health such as seeking a therapist, support groups and medication. But what most people don’t realize is how many people don’t have access to these services. Over 28 million individuals who have mental illness do not receive treatment because they are stubborn and do not want to be treated. Close to 6.2 million adults were not able to receive the treatment that they needed and 42% of that amount said that they couldn’t afford it. Due to the needs of Americans, prices for necessities are skyrocketing, causing more issues. Allowing these little but influential acts such as mental health days will alleviate the stress of those who can’t afford treatment. 

Mental health care is expensive, despite the fact that so many people need it and may not have the money for it. One of the reasons the care is so expensive is due to the amount of schooling workers need to achieve in this field. To be a mental health counselor, you need an additional six years of school after high school, which is a long amount of dedicated time and hundreds of thousands of dollars paid towards schooling. Along with that, insurance coverage, treatment time and increased demand for both services and workers highly affect this. Schools offering mental health services help those in need. The counselors at school adapt to the learning environment and learn the school culture, which helps them understand students better. Not only that, but it keeps the school and students safe. If the students feel safe, they will report their concerns with less hesitation. 

During this era we are living in, it is known that Generation Z has a big influence on many ideas, mental health being one of them. It was discovered from a previous survey that 74% of students believed mental health days should be offered and 69% said they believed it was normal to take off school for this reason. Magazine Medlineplus showed many students who shared their experiences with mental health and one even stated their opinion that if schools pursued more mental health screening, they can help guide students to happier lives. Along with offering mental health days, that may only solve a fraction of students’ problems. Every parent has a different opinion on mental health and offering multiple ways for a student to get help could be beneficial, especially when a student won’t miss school.

At the end of the day, people always say that all the school struggle is worth it. But there should always be a limit to what you have to do before something harms you more than it helps you. 

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About the Contributor
Sophia Eljamal
Sophia Eljamal, Staff Reporter
Sophia is a junior at Millard West and this is her first year on the staff for the CATalyst. She likes traveling around the world and running. Over the summer, she traveled to numerous countries in Europe. In her free time, she enjoys going shopping, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music. She also loves to work and watch her favorite shows and movies on Netflix. Sophia looks forward to writing stories about sports and working with her classmates to produce interesting stories.

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