By Kelly Youngblood
A new law that allows Illinois students to take up to five mental health days is now in effect and local families are utilizing it.
The education bill, which was passed last fall and went into effect in January, allows students to use up to five mental or behavioral health days without a medical note and students are also able to make up any missed work.
After the second mental health day is requested, students may be referred to a school counselor or appropriate personnel.
Stacey Moore, Chief Communications Officer for Unit 4 Champaign schools, said as of Jan. 20, Unit 4 had 107 absences reported as excused mental health days.
“Unit 4 strongly believes in the importance of wellness in body and mind. To be considered well, we must continuously address physical and mental wellness for our students and staff. Just as if a person is not well physically, we would expect for them to stay home and heal. If a person is not well mentally, we have that same expectation,” Moore said.
Thinnes says allowing mental health days in school is an important opportunity for children in our current culture.