NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A state in the Pacific Northwest has passed a law that allows students to take mental health days.
Students in Oregon will now have the opportunity to miss a day of school for mental health and students we spoke to in Massachusetts are for it.
Oregon will now allow students to take an excused day off from school for mental health reasons. The new law was signed last month by Governor Kate Brown and is expected to go into effect this fall.
It lets students take up to five mental health days every three months. Students will also be granted permission to make up any tests they may have missed.
“At the high school level, I think that’s beneficial,” said Luca Fuller, a UMass student. “It sucks that we don’t have enough resources for people with mental health disorders. I think that’s a good start.”
In Oregon, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds. Nationally, suicide is at a 50-year high.
Mental health experts say it is one of the first state laws to explicitly instruct schools to treat mental health and physical health equally. 22News spoke to a faculty member at UMass who said if they are going to take a health day, make sure you stay active.
Physical activity is a huge indicator and benefit to health so on your mental health day don’t stay inside all day and isolate yourself more. Go out on campus, go for a walk, do some weight lifting.
Suicide rates are rising in Massachusetts and across the country, 638 people died by suicide in Massachusetts in 2016.
The Oregon governor said the law is meant to change the stigma around mental health in a state that has some of the highest suicide rates.