Will Students Soon Get ‘Mental Health Days’ In New York State?
New York State students might soon be allowed to take off from school due to their mental health.
This week, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee voted on three bills to improve mental health in public education.
Mental Health Days For Students
One bill that passed the Pennsylvania House would allow students to take a few mental health days.
If the bill passed, it would allow students to take up to three mental health days during the school year without a doctor's note.
Bill Would Allow 3 Mental Health Days For Students
The bill would allow parents to select the three mental health days for their children. Lawmakers say this policy would align with policies some school districts in Pennsylvania already have in place.
Hudson Valley Post obtained the bill and the bill states that a "mental health day" means a day to allow a student to attain care, rest or treatment to address any of the following conditions or behaviors:
- (1) Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
- (2) Anxiety.
- (3) Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- (4) Learning and developmental disabilities.
- (5) Autism.
- (6) Substance use disorder.
- (7) Self-harm.
- (8) Any other conditions or behaviors as recognized by a
physician or mental health professional.
Lehigh University associate dean Robin Hojnoski told lawmakers that one in five students across the U.S. "exhibit clinically significant symptoms of one or more mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders and conduct problems."
The bill now goes to the full chamber for a vote. Officials say the bill will help students who've dealt with emotional issues made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this writing, New York State hasn't announced any plans for mental health days. But if neighboring state has success, it's possible a similar law could be created in the Empire State.