Midterms are upon us and with all that work comes an even bigger pile of stress. Unfortunately, there are few opportunities to relieve that stress, which can cause problems for students. That is why students should get mental health days. 

Despite COVID-19 changing the attendance policies of many classes, there is still this expectation that unless you are sick, you must be in class. Sadly, mental health does not count in this definition of “sick.”

However, I believe that it should because of what poor mental health can do to people and their ability to learn and interact with others. When you have bad mental health, you do not want to do anything. Sometimes it is better for you to go out and do something. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum though, sometimes you need to have a day of rest. Interacting with people can be so exhausting for people with mental health problems. For them, it is important for them to get days where they can stay in their pajamas all day and not interact with anyone or, at most, a small number of people. 

That is because they can be exhausted from simply interacting with people, so expecting students to go to class and interact with people when they already have a lot on their plate is not good especially if they don’t have the best mental health that day. 

Plus, if students are exhausted from interacting with people, they might not end up doing the work that is assigned to them. Mental health days are not always going to be about being exhausted.

Sometimes it is a student missing classes to catch up on an assignment that needs to be done. Granted, some could argue that that is because they procrastinated the assignment, but it as easily could be that they did not have time to do it any other time. 

By giving students mental health days, those kinds of absences would become less common because there is the option to take a day to focus solely on one thing. 

Along with those two reasons, mental health days would help students feel less pressured to be perfect all the time. Attendance is important and I am not going to deny that point, but honestly making students show up to a lecture when they already don’t feel good isn’t going to help them learn. 

Having a bad day in terms of mental health does not always mean you feel bad either; sometimes it is a bad day because everything is so foggy in your head that you cannot focus. 

What good does it do for a student to be in class when they are not going to remember anything from it later?

It does not do them any good. It makes it a lot harder for them to find out what was talked about that day. 

At least with mental health days, students would be able to ask professors what happened and not feel guilty about missing class for something other than being sick. 

I know there have been days where I know I will not be able to focus on anything that my professors will say. So, I decided to take the day off and let my brain rest from all of the stress that comes with school. 

Even with me making that choice, I still feel guilty because I am not “sick.” Having an option for mental health days could help with that.

That is not to say some students would not abuse the option to have some of their absences to count as mental health days. With every sort of system that includes options, it is bound to happen.

Honestly though, if they are skipping class because they can, they would not show up to a regular class anyways. 

Giving students mental health days would help the students who need them more than it would harm those who would just abuse the option.