Students across Illinois will be able to take up to five excused mental health days starting in January.
Under a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month, students who decide to take a mental health day will not be required to provide their school with a doctor's note and will be able to make up any work that was missed on their day off.
"Having this now for all students across the state will be really beneficial, especially with what's going on with COVID," State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, who co-sponsored the bill, told the Journal-Courier. "Many students feel stressed, and have developed anxiety and depression because they're not able to see teachers and friends, and may have lower grades due to remote learning."
Child psychiatrists say they expect more children will need help
The pandemic has placed unique strains on children, and as a new school year begins, child psychiatrists say they expect to see a surge of kids who need help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between March and May of last year, hospitals across the country saw a 24% increase in the number of mental health emergency visits by kids aged 5 to 11 years old, and a 31% increase for kids 12 to 17.