Mental health day. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s been around for a long time, but it’s gaining more resonance in Today’s day and age of mental health awareness.
Recently, a group of teenagers in Oregon has passed a law that gives high school students a number of mental health days they can take per semester. It’s something that hits home for Oregon, which has had a high suicide rate in recent years. (According to a recent report, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 to 34-year-olds in Oregon, which is why there’s a strong sense of urgency for mental health reform in the State.)
Crying Out For Mental Health Help
Teens all over the world have been pointing out the importance of mental health awareness everywhere, and it’s an outcry that’s been growing stronger through the power of social media.
Now in Oregon, teens have been pushing hard to get this mental health bill passed, and as one of them told Today, “I took on this cause for a personal reason first off because so many of my close friends in high school struggled with depression, and there were times when I saw them at school when they really shouldn’t have been there, would have been much better for them to take a day off.”
This law is taking effect this Fall, just in time for the new school year, and if teens are stressed out, they can take up to five mental health days every three months if they need to.
One of the teens who got the law passed also told Today they were inspired by the tragedy of Parkland “in the sense that it showed us that young people can totally change the political conversation. Just like those movements, the bill is something completely coming from the youth.”
A New Report on Teen Suicide
Suicide has become a serious problem in the country, and as Vox reports, “Suicide rates lately have been increasing in all age groups in America, in almost every State. But the epidemic of youth suicide is particularly stymieing, even for experts who study it.”
As one researcher explains, “We’re seeing in the schools a lot more kids having mental health difficulties, whether that’s anxiety, trauma, depression, eating disorders, emotional difficulties, a lot more.”
What are some solutions? “Our schools need to be focusing much more on mental wellness or providing kids and youth with skills to deal with the emotion dysregulation they’ll experience during adolescence.”
Vox gave another good piece of advice: “just asking a teen if they’re feeling suicidal can help.” Some have been of the mistaken belief that even bringing the subject up toa teen or adolescent can put that at risk, but it’s not so.
Ultimately with more mental health awareness out there in the world than ever, teens will hopefully feel more emboldened than ever to reach out for help when they need it.
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