The Montgomery County Public School District, Maryland is now accepting mental health excused leaves from students. This unanimous decision is out after the board meeting’s voting held on October 1st, 2019.
In Spring, 2019 some of the student groups were working on mental health awareness. They felt that mental health is not getting enough acknowledgment. After six months of their struggles of talking to the board and addressing on importance of mental health, their efforts are paying off.
Last month, the board members made a committee to consider mental health as a serious problem in the district. In response to mental health awareness efforts, the school is now accepting mental health days as a legit excuse for leaves. The students are happy with this step from management coming from unanimous voting.
The leaves are for teachers and students both
Everyone in the district is now talking about how a bunch of students is able to bring a real change in their school. It is inspiring for other people irrespective of borders. Sometimes people come to school when they know they simply can’t handle it. Somehow it is pressure from parents or compulsion from school that restricts them to take off. Moreover, no school accepts too many absences without an obvious medical condition.
Having mental health issues as a valid excuse for leave is amazing. The school management also cleared that it applies to teachers as well. Students and teachers both can use these leaves for their mental well-being. Amazingly, there was no opposition from the public on this decision. It seems like everyone is happy with this new policy change. Now the attendance policy will use “illness due to mental health” for specific types of leaves.
Consequences of mental health problems in students
Mental health problems are real and they definitely affect student life. It shows prominent effects on quality of life, academic performance, physical health and relationships in life. Consequently, it may negatively affect all of these things with long term consequences affecting the future.
On a personal level, mental health problems can disturb focus, concentration energy, learning abilities, optimism, and performance. The co-occurrence of stress and depression makes it worse and together with all these links to dropping out of school.
American College Health Association survey (2015) reports college students to have mental health issues. The report finds 30% of students suffering from stress, 22% suffering from anxiety, 20% suffering from sleeping problems and 14% suffering from depression. (Read the complete report by clicking here)
CDC believes that one in five kids in the USA to experience from a mental health disorder each year passing. It means if there are 25 students in a class, five from these twenty-five are suffering from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. It’s an unfortunate thing that nearly 80% of the children who actually need therapy don’t get it.
Irrespective of going to therapy or not going, these students are much likely to skip school. Experts believe that school can play a big role in identifying mental health problems and help to solve them. In this regard, this new step from Montgomery County Public School District allowing students to take mental health excused leaves is truly remarkable.