Oregon and Utah are the first two states to allow students to take mental health days off from school (“Oregon approves ‘mental health days’ for students,” New York Post, Jul. 22). It’s about time in light of the high incidence of anxiety and depression among young people.
But I say that teachers also deserve the right to take days off for their mental health. The incidence of burnout among teachers is alarming. I don’t think that it existed nearly as much in the past because the pressure on teachers today is unprecedented. As a result, teachers slowly develop all the signs and symptoms of burnout. Even though burnout is a recognized clinical condition, there is still a stigma attached to those who ask for help.
I knew teachers at the high school where I taught for 28 years who turned to alcohol and other drugs to get through the year. I wonder if they would have needed to do so if they had been able to take a few mental health days off.
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