I just some quick thoughts on the idea of taking a “mental health day” from work or school.
I was in my Business class today and nearly half of my class didn’t show up and my Professor made a comment to the effect of, “Oh they must all be taking a so-called “mental health day”. Something about the way she said it, laughingly, got my attention and made me start to wonder why we get “sick days” for work and why only medical notes are what considers an absence for class excused.
Obviously the idea of a “mental health day” could be abused by those who are just simply not wanting to go into work or class; but can’t you also do that with a doctors note? There are days, we all have them, when we get so stressed and overwhelmed that we often find ourselves on the verge of a mental breakdown. I know I’ve found myself there more than once when there’s a lot going on at school; and then life throws some more at me because it seems that everything happens all at the same time. I’ve bawled my eyes out over the littlest things, panicked about nothing, and just been overwhelmed so easily when I am extremely stressed, and I know I am not the only one.
It should be okay for us to call into work or email a Professor saying, “Sorry I wasn’t there today, I really needed a mental break.” I understand that a lot of this problem is society’s fault, and the pressure and fast pace of today’s world doesn’t help. However, that is never going to change unless we force it to.
We need to start acknowledging that our mental health is just as, in fact maybe more, important than our physical health.
I know this all won’t change overnight, but don’t let an unexcused absence keep you from taking care of your mental health. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and do what you need to do to be in a good place where you can both be and perform at your best.
Today as I was reading through my timeline I felt prompted to write this post, hoping to maybe give myself and other students some peace that we’re not in this alone – and reassurance that there is some beauty amidst the heartbreaking pain.
Within the first 45 days of 2018 there were 17 school shootings in the US. Then, on February 14th in Parkland, Florida number 18. 14 students and 3 teachers lost their lives at Stoneman Douglas High School. Today, March 14th, students all around the country walked out of their classes and stood silent for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. However, this movement has gotten much larger than just Parkland, this is a generation crying out to those in office to do something about gun violence. Students want there to be stricter gun laws in place and assault rifle ownership to be illegal so that they feel safe and protected in the schools they attend.
This might sound silly, but as I was watching my Snapchat stories today and scrolling through my social media, there were posts and videos all over of my friends standing silent, the news headlines talking about the walk out, and my peers pleading for change. Students, some of which not yet of voting age, carried signs pleading to those who are saying things such as “Love your kids, not your guns.” as pictured below. As well as things like “Am I next?” and “How many more?”
If these signs don’t pierce your heart, what will? I’m only 20 years old, but if there’s anything I’ve noticed is that tragedy brings people together, and oh it is so refreshing. It’s comforting to me to listen to an interview with a student from Parkland talk about how they have received letters from other schools saying that they are praying for them, and his response is that Parkland is there for them too. Here is just a short video posted by Fox News of footage from today’s walkout in some states.
So, I guess just wanted to write this post not only to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to gun violence and school shootings, but I wanted to encourage you and all students across the country that we’re in this together. Enforcing better gun control laws is not a fight that can be ignored, nor it is a fight one can win alone, but as long as we continue to make our voices be heard and be the passionate generation we are, we can do it together.
Always here for you,