Why More Schools Are Excusing Student Absences for Mental Health

Summary: This article reports on the trend for schools to consider allowing students to take mental health days as a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. The article provides information from a number of states who have enacted legislation which broadens the reasons for school absence to include mental health issues.

Source: Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, June 24, 2021

Description: “For more than a year, young people have been waving danger flags: They miss class. Their schoolwork is weak or nonexistent. They’re exhausted, unfocused. As schools step up their support, one simple, concrete step is becoming popular: allowing excused absences for mental health days. State legislatures and school districts are responding to a tidal wave of student trauma. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality among young people were already on an alarming rise before the pandemic, but soared as schools and communities shut down to fight the virus. In a June 2020 Harris poll of 1,500 teenagers, 78 percent said schools should prioritize mental health days so students can take proper care of themselves. In a June roundtable with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, high school students urged him to make mental health in schools a top priority.”

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