GNHS offers students breaks with mental health days


Mental health days are just as important as sick days because with poor mental health, people can experience symptoms of being physically sick.
Here at Grayslake North, students can have a parent or guardian call into the attendance office and be excused for a mental health day. Mental health days started January first, and they give students five days off school. During these days, students don’t have to show up for Zoom class, but they will be expected to catch up on the work they missed.

“Mental health days are days that are mandated through the state that students can take as sick days,” said prevention and wellness coordinator Jenny Andersen.

Mental health days are just like regular sick days. Students use them the same way. The only difference is that students do not need a doctor’s note to use a mental health day.

“Students are allowed to take up to five excused days per year, so this is basically five excused days where a doctor’s note is not needed,” said school psychologist Wesley Clevenger.

If the school notices that someone is taking more than two or three of these days, someone will reach out to the student just to make sure everything is okay.

“One of the things that will happen is that if we start to see a pattern, then someone will reach out to the family just to check in and make sure everything is okay. I want students to be aware that if they do start using multiple mental health days, expect someone to reach out. That’s meant to be supportive, not disciplinary,” Clevenger said.

One thing students can do when out on these days is to meditate, relax or even walk in one’s neighborhood.

“These days are not going to treat any underlying causes or conditions that resulted in the need of a mental health day, but it is a short term relief that can help,” Clevenger said.

If someone ever needs help, the staff at GNHS is more than happy to help with anything needed. It’s okay to not be okay. It is okay to talk about mental health and should be treated just as importantly as physical health.

To use a mental health day, students cannot call themselves in. Only a parent or guardian can call in.

“Your parent has to call you in and tell the attendance office that you would like to use a mental health day,” said dean Jon Sawyer.