When you think of college, you think of the opportunities, new people, the parties, and fun. While enrolling to college, students are aware of the work and balance that will be a part of the journey. The baffling part is that college students are not aware of the added stressors and traumas that can develop overtime.
Mental illness is an issue that is known all too well on college campuses. Many people have these issues but never realize the toll that they take on their minds. Sometimes students need a day off to take care of themselves.
The state of Oregon has taken the first step in recognizing the increase in suicide and made a change. The state has passed legislation, effective in July 2019, allowing students to take up to five mental health days within a three-month period. More schools need to follow this initiative as their students are secretly crying for help.
School officials might say mental health days are just a ploy for some students to have a day off, which may be true for some. But there are some students on campus that are in need of a day or two because they are struggling to cope with all the factors of college. According to the co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, Dr. Anthony Rosain, a lot of excessive stress comes from students who are tediously thinking about surviving college and doing well.
“What we’re seeing now are growing numbers of students coming onto campus who are already being treated for mental illness, or who are on various medications and who really have learned to manage their illnesses at home,” says Dr. Rosain, “but suddenly they’re on their own and sometimes they’re not following through with their own recommended treatments.”
Contrary to belief of wasted days for classes, this plan could be effective with the right parameters put in place. To start off, the plan would go as follows: there will be a message from the president of the institution, partnered with on- campus counseling center, to address the mental health concern leading into a survey being sent out to the campus expressing why it will be needed and what day works best for everyone. Thus, the days will be created, following with a follow up survey to see the effects the mental health day had on students, as well as campus staff.
Some may say, “Well we do offer counseling on campus,” but that is an overwhelming number of students for the select people that are hired to work in that department on campus. There are many students living in silence with their illnesses and are not ready to take the step to be open with others. But with the implementation of mental health days, students can learn to be dependent on themselves and their school, since it is a school- wide initiative. Also, mental health days are already a practice that students act on, like sophomore, Meleah Davis.
“As a student who suffers from mental health issues and has learning disabilities, this would prove beneficial to my academics. In high school my school gave us one mental health day a quarter where we had the day to relax, realign and focus on ourselves. Students could take the time to engage in exercise, engage in social activities, catch up on assignments, or just relax. This gave me the idea to carry that into my personal life. This helped a lot with my anxiety and stress,” says Davis.
Implementing mental health days, will be a step in the right direction for students while knowing their institution has their best interest at heart by caring about all aspects of their lives. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, 64% of college students drop out due to mental health issues, so don’t let Delaware State University students be in those numbers.