Ohio Wants To Give Students Mental Health Sick Days

A proposed legislative bill looks to allow Ohio students to miss school because of mental health struggles.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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Ohio students

The youth mental health crisis is affecting more and more students. To combat this, some states have passed legislation that allows schoolchildren to take mental health days off school. Now, Ohio is supporting students in their own pursuit to pass a similar bill.

It is no secret that students have had to face unprecedented challenges. Not only were they isolated and masked during the pandemic, but they have also been subjected to fears of spreading disease, and expected to increasingly focus on identity politics as part of their educational journey. None of these subjects have afforded children much room for questioning. Children appear to have been manipulated and vilified by the very public schools that are supposed to serve them. Enough parents and lawmakers have recognized this that movements to flee the education system and defund teachers’ unions and public schools have erupted, yet the children are still suffering. In Ohio, students are experiencing anxiety, depression, and burnout at increasing rates

Ohio college students are feeling the brunt of these mental health concerns, but even younger students have expressed issues. The state also experienced a spike in suicides in 2020. Since before the pandemic, Ohio’s student suicide rates have been above average

In order to provide Ohio students with the proper support to manage and/or resolve mental health conflicts, House Bill 619 was proposed. This piece of legislation would not only allow students to take off school for mental health reasons but also encourage districts to create their own in-house mental health programs that assist students when they are struggling throughout the day. While the state’s Education President applauds this move, he also expressed a desire for lawmakers to include wording that will discourage students from abusing this new policy, should it pass. 

The bill proposes that students are given three mental health days to use throughout the school year. This is in addition to sick days and other family leave that Ohio students are already entitled to. Due to the current national emergency in youth mental health, policies like these are gaining more support throughout the United States, and are likely to pass. 

So far, 12 other states have already passed bills that afford students mental health days. Some are more specific than others. Nevada and Connecticut have restrictions on their policies, but Ohio students could join those of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington in taking off school when they are experiencing mental struggles. 

Ohio students

Along with that, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania have proposed legislation regarding the subject. As the 2022-2023 school year draws closer parents and educators are anticipating swift action from their state officials. If the bill passes Ohio students could receive this additional support as early as this fall. 

House Bill 619 has the power to positively impact Ohio students in new ways. While youth mental health issues continue to deter children’s emotional and educational growth, addressing the situation with sound solutions is needed. Ohio parents who favor the bill can contact their local representatives and express their concerns to help this law find its place within the school system.