School students in Illinois will be given extra days off for mental health, starting next year. The new law allows students to take up to five ‘mental health days’ each school year – and won’t require a doctor’s note to be counted as an excused absence.
Lawmakers say the bill will help students cope with “anxiety and depression” – which is often made worse by attending school during the COVID pandemic. The law goes into effect in January. The law applies to all public school students, ages 6-17.
“Many students feel stressed and have developed anxiety and depression because they’re not able to see teachers and friends and may have lower grades due to remote learning. This will allow them to get the help they need,” said State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, who was a co-sponsor of the bill.
In addition to Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia have all passed similar laws in recent years, according to The New York Times.