Why stressed-out kids need mental health days as much as adults

More and more schools are offering mental health days for children. Here’s how parents can make the most out of a child's day off.

Barbara Macon’s daughter was sobbing and pleading to stay home from school, claiming that a bully was after her. But her mother thought something seemed off. Sure enough, the fourth grader, who was new to her elementary school, admitted that she’d made up the story to avoid going to school.

What she really needed was to take a day to reset her emotions from the stress of being the new kid. They ended up agreeing that her daughter would stay home on a Thursday to spend time with her dad. “On Friday she went back, and it was fine,” the Oregon mom says. “She came out smiling.”

Macon’s daughter was able to take advantage of a 2019 Oregon law that allows students to be excused from school for mental health reasons, just as they would if they were physically sick. (Generally, the day off is considered an excused absence with no doctor’s note needed.) Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, and Virginia also allow mental health days for kids, and counties in some states that don’t currently have mental health day laws are considering their own regulations.

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