New Illinois law will allow students to take a 5-day mental health day off in school

TSR Health: Illinois, see you! ! The state is showing that it values ​​supporting mental health, especially at a young age.

Starting in 2022, a new law will allow children to take up to five mental health days. This law, signed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, will allow five unexcused absences without a doctor’s certificate starting in January. USA Today report.

The law applies to all public school students aged 6-17. Supporters of the bill believe that students are under increasing mental stress, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many students feel stressed and have anxiety and depression due to the inability to see teachers and friends, and may result in lower grades due to distance learning. This will enable them to get the help they need,” the co-sponsor and state of the bill Rep. Barbara Hernandez (Barbara Hernandez) said.

A study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last fall showed that mental health-related emergency room visits increased by 24% among children aged 5 to 11, while children aged 12 to 17 increased by 31% . The pandemic in April 2020. This compares with the figures for 2019.

Before the pandemic, children’s mental health diagnoses had been on the rise.

A study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in 2018 found that the anxiety and depression rate of children aged 6 to 17 rose from 5.4% in 2003 to 8.4% from 2011 to 2012.

The Illinois bill also stipulates that students who participate in the approved mental health day for more than two days should be referred to the appropriate school support service.

Students participating in Mental Health Day will also be allowed to make up for missed jobs.

“As society pays more and more attention to mental health issues as part of health care, we must ensure that our students have the ability to solve the problems they are dealing with,” State Senator Robert Mattwick said after the passage of the bill. The statement said the Senate. “The bill removes stigma and allows students to prioritize their mental health and stability.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang