Opinion: Students need a weekly mental health break

By MEL MAGANA FRANCO

School is draining. Any student can agree, some more than others. 

“It’s draining because you wake up in the morning everyday and go to school for how many hours, six to seven,” says Niamonie Calloway, junior at Orangewood High School.

Students work, deal with family issues and some play sports. A break is well deserved. It would help students stay in a more calm state of mind. 

Students are the new generation coming up. It’s a lot of pressure on adults, of course, to make sure we are great individuals. But students, as kids and teens, we feel pressure. We feel like we have to meet everyone’s expectations and we become stressed. Everything is new to us.

We deserve at least one mental break weekly from all the thinking and the expectations and all of the worry.

Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Students who have academic stress tend to do poorly in school. This mental health day will be a good thing for students’ future and mental health.

Having a mental health day off will encourage students to come to school when there is school. Students don’t come to school because they are drained or have higher priorities to deal with. With a mental break day, they will wait just for that day to come so they can get it out of the way. If you look at attendance around scheduled breaks, like Spring Break, the week before and after students are more likely to attend because they know they have that break. When there is school for days and weeks on end, students feel like there isn’t a break so they start to miss school. With scheduled mental break days, students will be more encouraged to show up to school.

It is true that some students may take advantage of this. Yes, some students may still not show up on scheduled school days. The school can make a rule that if they miss school without an actual good excuse, they can’t take the mental health day because it will be replaced with a make-up day. A few teachers on a rotating basis will be on campus on these mental health days for those students who need to make up missing work from an unexcused absence.  Those who showed up during scheduled school days should get the mental health break.

Students not only need a break, but would benefit from a mental health day off each week.

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