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Mental health days: How teens changed the law in Oregon
BBC
Mon, 22 Jul 2019 14:46

Mental health days: How teens changed the law in Oregon

BBC
Mon, 22 Jul 2019 14:46

Mental health days: How teens changed the law in Oregon




Students in Oregon will be able to take mental health days in the same way they would take sick days under a new law.Its after four teenagers successfully campaigned for the American state to introduce the legislation.Pupils will be able to have up to five days off every three months for "issues with mental or behavioural health".The group behind it say they aimed "to change the stigma around mental health".



Hailey Hardcastle, an 18-year-old from Portland who helped champion the mental health bill, says she and the other members of the group put the proposal together in an effort to "encourage kids to admit when theyre struggling".According to data from Oregons Health Authority, nearly 17% of eighth-graders (13 and 14-year-olds) had reported seriously contemplating taking their lives in the past 12 months.Until now, schools there were only obliged to excuse absences related to physical illnesses.Although lots of business in the UK are becoming more open about discussing mental health, there is no law which forces schools or employers to recognise mental health issues as an excuse for having a day off.



Hailey and the other teen campaigners, Sam Adamson, Lori Riddle and Derek Evans, have had criticism from parents in the state who suggest the law will encourage students to find more excuses to miss school. Some say students could already take "mental health days" by lying or just pretending to be ill.But Hailey says those views miss the point of the new law - and that students are more likely to open up about how theyre feeling if they know mental health issues are being formally recognised by their school. "Why should we encourage lying to our parents and teachers?"Being open to adults about our mental health promotes positive dialogue that could help kids get the help they need."Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.