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State of Illinois evaluating mental health days for kids

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QUINCY (WGEM) - The pandemic has made it clear, kids sometimes need help when dealing with mental health struggles, like stress.

A bill making it’s way through the Illinois Senate aims to help students by adding up to five mental health days off school so children can get the break they need.

Senate Bill 2473 passed unanimously out of committee on Tuesday and is on its way to the Senate floor for a vote.

Dr. Frank Froman is a psychologist in Quincy.

He said during the pandemic more children have reported mental health issues like anxiety.

Froman said mental health days can be a good break for students who are struggling.

“It’s helpful for almost anybody whether it’s a student or it’s an adult. Sometimes we all need that day to just say stop the world I want to get off. If it happens one or twice or three times in a year – no big deal. Let it happen," Froman said.

But Dr. Froman says mental health days are something for parents to keep track of.

If your kids need to take too many breaks, it can be a sign that they need more help and should talk to a professional like a school counselor.

Counselors at Quincy Senior High School say they've seen more students struggling with mental health issues like stress, since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mental health days are one of the ways students can take the time they need to deal with issues like stress.

QHS officials said its policy on mental health days for students is parents can call in to let the school know and it will be an excused absence day.

Then school counselors like Lori Cox will help students come up with a plan to help them move forward.

“If a student needs a break, say they come to school and there’s something that’s happened related to the pandemic or not, we make a plan with the guardian and if they need a break away from school we make that time and they go home, they get what they need. Then we try to support them as they reengage at school the next day," Cox said.

Cox said if a parent sees their student is struggling, it’s best to reach out to the school so councilors and other staff can make changes to help student feel more comfortable.

Cox also suggests the online mental health resources listed below:

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