The Problem with ‘Mental-Health Days’ at Schools

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We should be teaching resilience, not avoidance.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T here’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

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Daniel Buck is a teacher and a senior visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute. His writing can be found at National Review Online, City Journal, and Quillette.


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