The proposal to allow K-12 students to take several days a year off for mental health days is a well-intended, but foolish, policy proposal. https://www.yahoo.com/now/students-york-could-mental-health-194900931.html
You can’t argue with the need to highlight the mental health challenges that our young people are facing. Technology and social media have placed great pressures on our students.
An argument that might’ve been just a short-lived tiff in the past can now escalate into viral bullying that can last for months or more.
But the idea of allowing days off does not solve the problem. If counseling is needed to be conducted, do it with school counselors so that the youngster can continue their academic pursuits.
There is already ample opportunity for a parent to keep their child out of school. These extra days are just sending out a signal that time away from school is to be encouraged.
While we strongly support accessibility to mental health counseling, we also believe there is a place for some “tough love.” While there’s a potential that some critics may falsely label such a suggestion as being insensitive, we have to do what’s best for the child.
We have become a society of victims that has fostered children and adults alike to think that all is helpless, and that they cannot get through struggles through perseverance and a greater sense of personal responsibility. We often marvel at the so-called “Greatest Generation” that struggled through a Great Depression and several wars without complaining much and always moving forward. There were thousands of times they could have gone off the rails and said, “I just can’t handle it,” but they were taught to suck it up and understand that life isn’t always fair.
Wallowing in self-pity can be extraordinarily destructive. And, of course, being a victim of bullying or experiencing social media pressures (which that generation did not have to go through) can be excruciating to a young person.
We need to be supportive, but also to let these young people know that they are not victims if they don’t want to be. Toughening up and moving forward is an important part of life. While we need to make mental health services available, telling kids that they can take off whenever they want because they’re having a tough mental health day is the wrong message.