Top 5 reasons mental health days stunt mental health growth from intention to staff tracking

Alyssa Carino, Staff Writer

Already well into the second semester, students may be in murky waters when it comes to mental health days. Whether they’re being monitored, controlled, or tracked, mental health days are causing stress and anxiety among the student population.
Misuse of mental health days: Instead of using a mental health day for what it is intended for, some students claim parents are misusing them as excuses for college visits, doctor visits and dentist appointments. Since students are only given five mental health days a semester, days should not be wasted on counterproductive activities. Mental health days are intended to be used as a day to rest and recharge. They are supposed to give students time to relax, and should benefit their mental health without worrying about school.
Teacher/student relationship strains: Some students get more stressed out when they realize they’re going to have to make up all the work they’re missing on the day of absence. When they come back from a mental health day, students are still expected to complete “missing work” on top of learning any new material that was taught. This can lead to a strain in teacher/student relationships due to a lack of focus from students in class. When they’re directing their attention towards the work they need to do, they may not care as much about listening to teachers as long as their work gets finished, prompting miscommunication.
Working during mental health days: While they’re supposed to be relaxing their minds, some students still work on school work posted on Google classroom the day they take off, not really taking a break. Trying to force work on a day that is meant for unwinding will not help more than it could lead to a larger strain on the brain.
Anxiety caused by tracking: After the second mental health day, students officially are tracked and contacted by student services, which could possibly lead to stress and anxiety amongst students who are called down. This tracking can also cause a distrust between the student and counselors after they are required to contact parents.
Planning mental health days: Many students strategically plan their mental health days, which is not the intended way they are supposed to be used. Some students plan for days they know they will not have much going on in order to catch up with school work. Mental health is not as organized as this, and students should not have to plan a day off because they are fearful of all the work they must catch up with to pass.
Overall, when mental health days are used correctly, they can be extremely beneficial to students. Taking a step away from school and resting allows time to recharge. When used for the wrong reasons, these day may leave a strain on the body and mind. If we can resolve the flaws with mental health days, there is a possibility to see an improvement in students’ performance in school.