Normalizing mental health days for students and teachers

Over the last two years, schools have promoted caring for physical health, but one of the most overlooked health issues is students’ and teachers’ mental health. 

Having mental health issues can destroy someone from the inside out and reduce any motivation for school or after school activities. 

Mental health days should be better prioritized in schools because students and teachers both deserve the chance to rest and recharge, both physically and mentally.

The difference a good rest day can make is incredible. 

Taking mental health days is a chance for teachers and students to take a break and recover from their nerves and get away from all the stress of tests, deadlines and grades just for one day.

Mental health is a major blind spot in the school environment these days, and adding some off days or even extra early-release days would be a great way to start integrating mental health care into the learning environment. 

For many high school students and teachers, stress and anxiety is their normal state of mind, and they’ve learned to push through, treating those overwhelming emotions as normal, but the amount of stress and anxiety some experience is not normal — at least it shouldn’t be. 

Students are never offered the choice of a mental health day or even a sick day. Instead they are presented with the fear of missing a day. 

Students are scared into coming to school with the fear that if they miss one day, they will be behind and their grade will drop. That shouldn’t be the case; everyone should be given an opportunity to take a day for themselves and not be scared or stressed into something they aren’t mentally prepared for. 

We can’t solve all mental health issues or reduce all levels of stress and anxiety that exist in a school or in the world, but we can normalize taking time off without punishment or fear of retribution. 

And we should.