The Hill

Oregon Students Are Mandated By Law To Take 'Mental Health Days'

Oregon is considered as a state that has one of the highest suicide rates in all of the country. As a result, the students behind the new measure, which are these ‘mental health days,’ aim to change the stigma surrounding mental health.

The new Oregon bill was signed by Gov. Kate Brown last month, which is one of the wins for youth activists from around the state. There will be an expansion of mental health services. Furthermore, the youth activists also lobbied for the legislation to increase gun control, as well as to lower the voting age. However, both of these failed.

As for the new bill, students of Oregon will take these ‘mental health days,’ much like they would take sick days. This expands the reasons for excused school absences within the state. Moreover, this also includes behavioral and mental health under a law that is one of the first of its kind in the United States of America.

One of the youth activists who helped push the mental health bill was Haily Hardcastle, an 18-year-old student from Portland suburb of Sherwood. She shared how she and some other student leaders were motivated by the youth-led movement that followed last year's Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Hardcastle is planning to attend the University of Oregon this fall. She wanted to encourage the youth in admitting that they need some form of help or that they are struggling. She believed that if they are able to change the stigma surrounding mental health, more and more individuals would be open to sharing their mental health conditions that may result in the reduction of similar instances like the Florida school shooting.

"We were inspired by Parkland in the sense that it showed us that young people can totally change the political conversation," Hardcastle shares with NBC News. Much like those movements, Hardcastle explained that this new bill is something coming from the youth.

It can truly help in the confrontation of this crisis if the people are able to first change the stigma around it.

Mental health Shocking statistics show that parents need to be more aware of their children's mental health. geralt/Pixabay

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