I should be able to go to the nurse and instead of telling her my stomach hurts, I should be able to tell her my head isn’t feeling right, I’m too stressed, and I need to go home. There should not be some kind of judgement process if you need to take care of yourself, and I’m not sure why there still is in today’s world. There are countless amounts of times I’ve drug myself out of bed and into school feeling like I couldn’t stand another person looking at me, and there are the days where I felt so down that I didn’t speak the entire day. Sometimes people just need a day to reset, I know I certainly do. Oregon led the way and school districts around the country are considering giving students mental health days, and I think this is a necessary step.
Teenagers across the world need a few days to reset, as researched by Tim Walker, reporter for NeaToday. “Students are coming to school with unmet needs we can’t manage in the classroom alone. They deserve well-rounded services and supports like psychologists, nurses, school counselors, and smaller class sizes so they can have the individual attention they need,” says John Larson, a high school English teacher. In our state alone, suicides in teen groups is at an all time high, which is not something to be proud of. Obviously, something is wrong and we should be trying our hardest to fix it. Allowing students to take mental health days would be taking a step in the right direction.
Suicide and self-harm are real threats to today’s society and should be taken into account by the school system. In June of 2018, the Journal of American Medical Association declared that teen suicide was at the highest it has been in nearly two decades. According to the graphs made by americashealthranking.org, the suicide rate per 100,000 teens is at 9.9. This is something that should be acknowledged in schools and taken seriously to the rest of the world. Our county has one of the highest suicide rates in all of Virginia. In 2014, per 100,00 people, the rate was at 11.4 (as a combined group, not just teens), and in 2016 it was the highest it had been since 2004.
Mental health is a very real thing and should be acknowledged by the school system. I should be able to go to the nurse and instead of telling her my stomach hurts, I should be able to tell her my head isn’t feeling right, I’m too stressed, and I need to go home. There should not be some kind of judgement process if you need to take care of yourself, and I’m not sure why there still is in today’s world. High school students are some of the most stressed people around, and most of us need a few days a semester to rebalance ourselves.
Even then, after we come back, feeling significantly better, we are forced to do hours of homework, projects, and studying to try and catch up to the rest of the class. It’s a constant loop of being battered down and made to feel like you will never catch up and have the chance to bring the grade up. Some days, it’s truly too much for me to handle and I have to isolate myself from everything and everyone I love, and it hurts everyone around me and myself. Some days I don’t get my homework done because it’s too much for me to handle, and I think about not going to school the next day just so I don’t have to face the disappointment of my teachers. My grades slip due to stress, due to missing school, and the cycle starts all over again.
Students should be able to have up to three mental health days per semester. Sometimes, you just can’t do it, and that’s perfectly okay, but in order to keep going, you have to get back up again. It should be okay to take a day off to collect yourself in order to keep going. School districts need to acknowledge this fact.