The impact of mental health days

As finals approach, attending school becomes more detrimental. While there are positives and negatives to taking a day off, many people struggle with comparing the pros and cons to find out if a mental health day will be beneficial.

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Aaliyah Lizak

Returning to school after a day off is often accompanied by stress for students.

Students who achieve academic excellence are typically more driven and hardworking; however, everyone can fall behind on occasion. Many people who get backtracked may take a “mental health day” to catch up, hoping one day off will help achieve that. There are both positives and negatives to this strategy. 

“A pro of taking a mental day is you get a break from the stress, and a con is you have to catch up on a bunch of work, which puts a break in your learning cycle,” senior Sloan Townsend said.

When students take a day off of school, they have the time and opportunity to make up any missing work without dealing with the stress of additional assignments and being in class; however, a negative is that, when they return, they then have all the work from the day missed. If a student takes a mental health day, there is a possibility they will fall even further behind.

Missing a day of school has an even stronger impact on student-athletes. When an athlete is not in attendance for at least half of the school day, they cannot participate in any practice, games or competitions that day. It is also a requirement at ACHS to maintain a 2.0 GPA and to be passing five classes to be eligible for participation. By missing a school day, a student’s academic performance is impacted, in turn, impacting their ability to participate in extracurricular activities.

According to ACHS teacher Robert Hafer, data collected over the years shows students’ attendance compared to their academic performance: attendance has a visible effect on the success rates of students.

“Studies indicate that chronic absences strongly correlate with graduation rates, reduced GPA and course failures,” Hafer said.

In addition to missing assignments, students who miss a day of school are also missing in-class instruction. It is most common for AP and honors students to receive heavier workloads and in-class lectures, so if they fall behind, it is more difficult to catch back up. Some students would choose to take a mental health day as an escape.

“Students should attend school whenever possible to avoid a disruption in learning,” Hafer said. “I’ve learned throughout my life that a major component of success is showing up.”

Success is the ultimate goal for many individuals. As a person furthers their academic career, school becomes more important. High school builds a platform for the future. That being said, chase dreams, become successful and show up.