TEEN TALK: Are Mental Health Days Helpful or Harmful?

You be the judge!

Miranda Kublius, Columnist

Miranda Kublius, Columnist

Miranda Kubilus, Columnist

Everyone has had a day where they can’t really seem to get out of bed in the morning. Where the day ahead seems bleak and meaningless and they think ‘What’s the point of getting up?’  Everyone has had or will have at least one day where they need a break from the world, whether that be due to mental health issues or a personal loss or they just feel drained of energy from the days before, or for any other reason. On these days some students feel like they should take a mental health day, but is that really the best decision?

In an article on the Psychology Today website, psychotherapist Amy Morin said that mental health days can be incredibly beneficial, but only if they’re productive towards helping one’s mental state. During these days she says you should try to solve the problem that originally caused the discomfort, practice self-care, or, if serious enough, seek help from a doctor. Doing things such as binge-watching TV on these days, sleeping all day, or rewarding your child for staying home could have the opposite impact from the intended results. In fact, according to the article binge-watching TV can worsen their mental health. She gives this warning to parents, “You might think a relaxing day in front of the TV or a chance to unwind playing video games will help. But research shows binge-watching TV is bad for mental health. A 2015 study published in International Communications Association found that binge-watching TV increases feelings of loneliness and depression.”

A person’s mental health greatly impacts their work ethic, quality, and productivity. If a student goes to school on a day that they’re feeling exhausted from the schoolwork and pressure, their work could be greatly impacted. He/she may not be as productive on that day as they would on a day that they feel energized and recharged, and the poor work could affect their grades, whereas when taking a day off they could make up the work they missed when they are in a better mental state.

Sophomore Sam Gallinot said that she has taken mental health days in the past that were beneficial. “There were some days I just felt like I couldn’t go, taking a mental health day helped me to recharge and by the next day I was back to feeling like myself,” she said. Another student Aubrey Layton, who readily admits that she has also taken mental health days, said, “It was beneficial to me because I was able to handle my emotions in a comfortable environment without the pressure of being in school.”

Mental health is becoming recognized as vital to one’s physical well-being, and people are starting to see that overworking oneself can have dire consequences on the body and mind. Increasingly more and more people are developing or being diagnosed with mental illnesses, partially due to the pressure put on them from school, work, or social environments. It is important that students and adults alike take days to rest, but also important that these days are productive towards helping one’s mindset rather than doing nothing and lounging around which could potentially hurt them more.