U.S. Lawmakers Push for Mental Health Days for Kids Amid Pandemic


State lawmakers are said to be increasingly seeking more support for children. Legislations have been proposed in Arizona and Utah which would add behavioural or mental health to the list of reasons students can be absent from class, in line with that of physical illness. Similar laws have passed in Oregon, Colorado, Maine and Virginia in the last two years.

In Arizona, Democratic Sen. Sean Bowie has introduced a mental health day measure for the second time after legislation was stalled in March due to the pandemic. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has taken a particular interest in youth suicide and mental health, and Bowie said he is confident it will be signed into law. The bill passed the Senate unanimously. In Arizona, specific mental health day policies would be up to each specific school district.

The bill is modelled after a similar program in Oregon. In Oregon, students are given 5 excused absences every 3 months, and they can be either physical sick days or mental health days.

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