New York lawmaker wants to allow students to take mental health days

New York lawmaker wants to allow students to take mental health days

Created: September 05, 2019 03:12 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) — Should mental health be an excused absence from school in New York? One state senator thinks so.

Democrat Brad Hoylman introduced legislation making mental or behavioral health issues a valid reason for an excused absence.

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In a statement, he said in part, "We need to recognize suicide and self-harm among young New Yorkers as the major public health crisis that it is, demolish the stigma around mental health care, and do everything within our power to help kids who are struggling seek treatment. An absence from school should never be a barrier to mental health treatment for a child in New York State."

A similar law was recently passed in Oregon, Utah, and Minnesota. Illinois is also considering it.

A recent study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics shows the number of children and teenagers treated in America’s emergency rooms for suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts nearly doubled between 2007 and 2015. 

According to the state's Department of Health, nearly 4,500 kids in New York were hospitalized for self-harm in 2016. 

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