Mental Health Days: A Solution For Teen Mental Health Problems


Depression, anxiety, school shootings, and other world issues can cause severe stress and mental health issues for teens. In the United States, many schools have noticed a rising trend in teen mental health problems and have decided to change their laws to help students cope with mental health struggles.

Two states, in particular, have enacted laws requiring schools to provide time off for students to encourage mental wellbeing. Oregon, on July 1st, 2019, started giving students five mental health days to use during a three month period. The bill was well supported by many students and families in the state, including the parents of one young girl, Chloe Wilson, who took her life after saying she was “sick” and needed to stay home. The other state taking action is Utah, which started implementing a similar law in 2018. 

Although only two states have developed laws, many states and school districts are exploring the idea of mental health days, and the Chelsea School District should do the same. The Chelsea School District should take into consideration that the students of CHS, BMS, and even younger students should have the opportunity to be given well deserved mental health days just as some other schools give their students. We are one of the top schools in the state of Michigan for education and sports, yet we sometimes fail to prioritize student health. We rise above many other schools but at what cost? Teens are studying every day to fit a societal standard of “smart” within our school. It is expected of students to always be striving to be better, get higher grades, etc. Emphasis on grades also contributes to a competitive academic climate.  

The majority of students want to achieve good grades because it will provide them more opportunities and a possibly brighter future. However, when teens become so obsessed with grades and sports, home life and mental wellbeing are not on their mind and often get sacrificed. The moments here in school are wonderful, but the stress students feel throughout their daily life is causing many students to lose friends, classmates, and sometimes family at home. We have a few programs at our schools to help students, but is this enough for us? 

My journey with mental health truly began when I moved here two years ago. I have lost two friends to tragedy, and the school in total has lost over ten students within the last eighteen years. I feel there needs to be a change, and we all know there should be a change. As someone who has been struggling with mental health issues for a few years, due to things such as bullying, I know that it is hard. There are days where I don’t even want to get out of bed, and I know other classmates feel this amount of stress and pain as well. It is not okay to feel this way, some days are harder than others but change can be done. 

One way I believe we can change this school for the better is students learning to be more kind to each other. Although it sounds completely unoriginal, a simple act of kindness actually does make someone’s day. Creating a sense of community is important in changing the school environment and promoting mental wellbeing. Mental Health Days would support this idea and provide students the time they need. Also, if students had a stress free environment with exams or tests, and a welcoming face for the school it would definitely be the change we need. 

Why You Matter has been discussed with Principal Michael Kapolka, and Assistant Principal Dr. Luman Strong multiple times as a way to help the school, along with ideas of new programs as well. I am super passionate about mental health since my time here grew. I recently went to a mental health summit with Mr. Kapolka and Dr. Strong which explained so much on what we can do and different mental health scenarios. No change is possible without these days for students, and without support. Mental health days could increase the happiness of students and change our school environment for both students and teachers.