Mental Health Days for Kids

Selfie Fun. Group of multi-ethnic teen friends taking self portrait picture outdoors and sincerely smiling at camera

Often I hear adults in their job situations talking about or taking a mental health day. Usually this is because of their allostatic load of stress, a crisis or some other adversity that they are struggling to cope with. This break is intuitive and can be helpful.

As we deal with students who are experiencing different types of stress, we recognize that they too may need such a break. Particularly in light of the aftermath of COVID-19 we are finding more students who are struggling to cope with their stress which can manifest itself in acting out behavior or withdrawal to a depressed state of living.

In a recent article written by Rae Jacobson in the Child Mind Institute this topic of a mental health day for kids is discussed. Here is an excerpt from this article:

Letting a child who isn’t physically ill stay home, especially after so much disruption and school loss, might feel wrong to most parents. But in the wake of the pandemic an unprecedented number of children and teenagers are struggling with mental health issues. And caring for kids’ emotional well-being is as important as caring for their health.

Taking mental health days — that is, time at home to rest and recharge — can be an important tool to help protect and manage mental health. And giving kids the chance to take them — within reason — can have big benefits.

But it can be hard to know when you should, and shouldn’t, let your child take a mental health day, and how to help them get the most out of it when they do. Here is some advice from our experts.

Stressed college student tired of hard learning with books in exams tests preparation, overwhelmed high school teen girl exhausted with difficult studies or too much homework, cram concept

She then goes on to help parents and caregivers decide when a mental health day is a good idea and when it is not. She talks about some of the symptoms you need to look at in order to make sure you are assessing the situation correctly and how to make a mental health day count.

I think it could be helpful to assist students in managing their stress by considering a break from the rigors of school and the stimulation and/or stress that occurs in school. This is a situation that may be different for every student but it is worth considering, particularly in the lives of students who are showing symptoms that indicate they are under significant levels of toxic stress. 

Here is the link to the rest of the article. I hope this will help parents and caregivers in guiding their child. Perhaps a mental health day – if utilized well – could help them handle the stressors of life better.

Gerry Vassar


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