The following is excerpted from the National Review. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
There’s a rising trend for states to write legislation incorporating “mental health” as a valid excuse for student absences. Illinois joined the trend this year, following multiple other states in the two previous years. What’s more, some school districts closed early for the Thanksgiving break so that educators too could “rest and focus on mental health.”
Since the start of the pandemic, adolescent rates of depression and anxiety have doubled. While COVID-19 and school closures have had a distinct impact, in reality, student mental health was in precipitous decline even before the pandemic.
That said, the existence of a problem does not thereby justify any reaction. Simply because I have a fever doesn’t mean I should grab pills willy-nilly from a medicine cabinet, and anyone who advises me against doing so does not stand in opposition to my health. With that in mind, what are the benefits and drawbacks of mental-health days?
All the popular articles that I’ve read open with the alarming statistics about student mental health and then propose days off as a response without any evidence that they actually, you know, help. At worst, they merely link internally to other articles that propose their use without proof. At best, they cite a doctor’s positive appraisal, a glorified appeal to authority. In reality, mental-health days are a newer phenomenon, and so research on them remains sparse.
Still, we can look at similar phenomena for insight. For example, extended vacations for adults — let’s call them mental-health weeks — do in fact have a benefit for an employee’s state of mind, but surveys find that these benefits last for only a few days.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.