Feb 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Some schools give mental health days as young Americans' suicide rate rises

Chairs in a classroom

Photo: Adam Augustus Crowley/Getty Images

States and school districts around the country are passing legislation to allow students to take mental health days as young people struggle with depression and anxiety, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The changes come as the suicide rate among young people continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported suicide was the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-24 in 2017.

The state of play: There are currently legislative proposals in California, New York and Florida to provide students mental health dates, per the Post.

  • Minnesota was the first state to pass a bill in 2009 saying excused absences may be for mental-health reasons.
  • Oregon and Utah also already allow students to take days off for mental health reasons.
  • The Montgomery County school district in Virginia recently announced it will allow mental health be used for excused absences.

Go deeper: Generation Z's suicide epidemic

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, in addition to prevention and crisis resources. Also available for online chat.

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