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Ask Dr. Nandi: Mental health sick days for kids … A good idea?

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 22:33:10-04

(WXYZ) — With Oregon becoming the second state to allow students to take Mental Health Sick Days, are these a good idea or will it lead to more kids skipping school

First of all, I think mental health days for students are a great idea. My sons are too young to feel the stress and pressures of school life but my teenage daughter is not.

We’ve talked about the challenge’s kids face and you know it’s not just about homework or getting good grades. They’re also trying to figure themselves out and the world around them.

On top of that, students can be affected by anxiety, depression, bullying, peer pressure, family conflict and the emotional impact of social media. So back to the purpose of mental health sick days, it’s a way for kids to say “hey, time out, I need a break from all of this”.

Question: There are critics who feel this will open the door to kids missing more school, it that true?

Supporters in favor of this believe it will not.

We all know if a child really wants to skip school, they can just say they’re sick. But mental health days are a way for kids to acknowledge that they’re having problems. And mental health should be treated just like physical health.

If your child is sick, you let them stay home and take care of them. And it should be the same for emotional health.

Plus, the CDC has reported that more children every year are being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. And the rates of suicide has also been rising.

So mental health should be taken seriously and we need to be open to discussing it.

Kids often don’t understand what’s going on inside. They just know their stomach hurts, they feel anxious, they’re sad, or they just want to sleep.

If you notice these or they say they don’t want to go to school, then parents, you need to talk with your child. And really listen to find out what’s going on. That’s the first step in helping your child and letting them know that their mental health is very important.