Students can now take a mental day off. And if you need it, use it!

Students can now take a mental day off. And if you need it, use it!

A few weeks ago, finals, homework, and lack of sleep had really caught up to me.

I woke up late for school and just felt totally unmotivated and too tired (mentally and physically) to get up and go to school for the remaining three periods. I told my mom that I needed to take a day off from school, just to get my body and mind back to a healthy place.

In my case, the afternoon off proved to be just the remedy I needed, but for many others, the struggle is much more serious and complicated. Thankfully, in July, Oregon passed a bill allowing students to take mental health days off from school. Students can now have up to five excused absences per 3 months which can be either a sick day or a mental health day.

This bill was passed in order to lower suicide rates among teens- which are alarmingly high. A huge reason for these high suicide rates is the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Many people who are struggling with depression or other mental illnesses don’t want to ask for help because of how it’s not talked about often. Many organizations (schools included) are working very hard to increase the awareness of mental illnesses, and let everyone know that it’s normal.

For those of you battling any sort of mental illness, you are not alone! Everyone has struggles, even if it doesn’t appear that way on the outside. The national suicide prevention line is 1-800-273-8255.

If you feel helpless or are concerned about someone you know, talk to a loved one or reach out to a medical professional. It’s important to remember that you and your emotions are completely valid. You are not alone.

Kili is a junior at Mountainside High School. She loves singing, playing piano and ukulele, and also running track and field.