Granting Students Mental Health Day


Jessica Navarro

It marks three years since COVID-19 forced schools to shut down due to the rising severity of the virus which drastically affected students. Students were required to shut themselves in from the outside world with little social interaction to learn from a screen. For many of us, this process of learning was difficult and hard to adapt to.

Although we’ve started learning again in person, it seems like some students haven’t fully recovered. Research shows that stress, anxiety, and isolation have risen after the pandemic—factors that have impacted our academic learning.  This raises the question: should students be granted mental health days? I spoke about this issue with some students from my classes. When asked if students should be granted mental health days, all of them were in favor of the idea. I asked them why they were in favor of mental health days, and when they responded, it was due to the fact that they were “mentally drained” or “exhausted.”

The first student I spoke to was Junior Madallie Silva who is a hardworking student. Silva takes AP Lang and AP Bio, which are undoubtedly challenging classes. When asked “Do you think it’s necessary to take mental health days? If so, why?” Silva replies, “I do think it’s necessary. Sometimes, I stay up late to finish homework that was assigned. The next day I wake up, I feel physically and mentally drained.

When days like that happen, I wish there were days given to us to just relax and refresh our minds.”  Following this, I asked if there was anything in particular that she would do if she were given the option of mental health days. “I would treat it as a self-care day,” Silva states. “I think I would take care of myself and do things that I like as a refresher. I think I would feel much better attending school the next day.”

Next, I interviewed Junior Elijah Mik, who is an exceptional volleyball player. He also holds an important position as one of the two volleyball captains of the West High varsity team. With Mik being one of the volleyball captains, this could lead to some pressure.

I asked him the same questions as I did with Silva, and he had similar responses. “I think it’s a good idea. I would definitely not be opposed to mental health days,” He replies when asked if mental health days were necessary. “School can be overbearing as well as taking care of my two younger brothers.”

It’s clear that by these responses school can get tiring and draining. After receiving my classmates’ input on this subject, I began wondering what working hard without taking days for ourselves can do to you and your mental health.

To answer some of my questions, I asked Mr. Fallquist, an AP psychology teacher, some questions regarding mental health. “I absolutely believe students should be granted mental health days,” he replies passionately. “In a lot of ways, mental health can be more serious than physical symptoms like the flu or the cold.” I also asked him if there was any effect to not taking mental health days for yourself. “Yes,” he states. “It can make your mental health worse. If left untreated, it can even make your life debilitate.”

It is without a doubt that school can be exhausting. Even though we don’t have mental health days granted to us, it’s important to always take some time for yourself and take a breather when things seem like they’re overwhelming. It’s also important to prioritize yourself and your mental health!