Thanks to four teenagers, there is a new bill regarding mental health. These teens campaigned to introduce the new legislation. This way, students will be able to take a couple of mental health days off the same way they would ask for a sick day. Furthermore, each student will be able to take up to five days every three months. The issues regarding mental health are a rising problem in schools, and the main goal is to remove the stigma regarding mental health.
One of four students that managed to win the fight for the bill, Hailey Hardcastle, is an 18-year-old student who said that with three other members they created a proposal to encourage other kids to simply admit when they are struggling.
Oregon’s Health Authority released data that says that almost 17% of eight grade students, aged thirteen and fourteen, admitted that they seriously thought about suicide in the past year.
Before this legislation, schools were only allowing free days due to physical illness. However, Lori Riddle, Derek Evans, Sam Adamson, and Hailey Hardcastle, still had quite a lot of criticism from both parents and teachers in the state, saying that this will only encourage students to miss classes. Furthermore, the critics said that students could already take some kind of mental health days by faking illness or lying.
Hailey said that the critics missed the point of the law, and that it is more likely that students will talk about their problems now that the state recognizes mental health issues. Finally, she added that being open about mental health problems will promote dialogue that could help students get the necessary help they need.