It’s no secret that today’s teenagers deal with a lot of stress. Between educational, familial, social and sometimes even work obligations, it can feel like there’s never enough time in the day to take a break and relax.

As conversations about taking care of our adolescents’ mental health dominate school board meetings, the concept of “mental health days” has emerged. But what is a mental health day? Is it actually beneficial? And what does a mental health day even look like?

Why Mental Health Days for Adolescents are Important

Just like our physical health, our mental health needs attention and care. Mental health days are a bit like sick days, main difference being that while a sick day is used to take care of one’s physical health, mental health days are used to prioritize one’s mental well-being.

Mental health days are meant to provide a break from the stress and demands of daily life, help prevent burnout and improve overall mental well-being.

As we learn more about the effects of mental health on adolescents, days off from school for mental health are becoming more commonplace. According to Verywell Mind, 12 states already allow students to take mental health days, while legislation to allow students to take mental health days has been proposed in another 8 states.

While mental health days should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health care, it can have its benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Mental Health Days For Adolescents?

As a concerned parent or educator, you may be wondering whether mental health days are actually worth it. With mental health challenges among adolescents on the rise, there are several benefits to mental health days for adolescents.

Reduced Stress and Burnout Prevention

One of the main benefits of taking a mental health day is the reduction of stress and anxiety. Adolescents are constantly on the go and juggling multiple responsibilities. They are expected to achieve the highest grades and become involved in extracurricular activities while also dealing with the effects of adolescence and the pressures of growing up. As a result, they often experience high levels of stress and anxiety.

Taking a day off from school to relax and focus on self-care can help alleviate these feelings, improve overall mental well-being and prevent burnout.

Increased Productivity and Creativity

Allowing adolescents to take a break from their daily routine can also lead to increased productivity and creativity. When we are constantly in a state of stress and overworking ourselves, our brains can become fatigued and our productivity can suffer.

By taking a mental health day, adolescents get the chance to rest, recharge and return to school with renewed energy.

Improved Physical Health

The connections between mental and physical health are important, especially when it comes to our still-developing adolescents. Mental health problems such as stress and anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension and fatigue. This, in turn, can make it difficult for adolescents to focus in school and perform well academically.

As a result, taking a mental health day can help alleviate these symptoms and have a positive impact on teens’ mental health.

Increased Self-Awareness

Taking a mental health day can also help adolescents develop increased self-awareness.

Teens are often embedded in a culture that tells them that their worth is tied to their academic performance. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, imperfection and decreased self-esteem.

By taking a mental health day, however, teens can reflect on these negative thoughts and feelings to gain a better understanding of themselves. It can help them understand that they are more than their grade, and that there is nothing wrong with prioritizing their mental well-being.

How to Take a Mental Health Day

If you’ve noticed that your teenager is on edge or dealing with a lot of stress, you may feel compelled to suggest they take a day off from school to prioritize their mental health. But how does one go about taking a mental health day?

Plan Ahead

If possible, it’s best to plan a mental health day in advance. This will allow you to communicate your child’s absence to their school and communicate with your child what their needs are.

Respect their feelings and emotions

If your adolescent asks for a mental health day, you may not always understand why. To you, they may seem perfectly fine or no more stressed than they usually are. However, just because you cannot see what is going on on the outside does not mean you understand how they are feeling inside.

When your teenager asks for a mental health day, try to be supportive and compassionate and avoid dismissing their needs. If they felt safe enough to ask you for a mental health day, they may also be open to having honest conversations about their mental health.

Engage in Self-Care Activities

Mental health days are all about letting go of tension and stress. As a result, you should let your teenager engage in activities that bring them joy and help them relax during a mental health day.

This could include reading, spending time in nature, practicing yoga or meditation or simply taking a nap. The key is to do activities that help them recharge and prioritize their mental health.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

As previously noted, mental health days should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health care. While it’s normal to need a day off from time to time, if your teenager’s mental health struggles are persistent it may be time to seek professional help.

A mental health day can be a good opportunity to have open and honest conversations about your child’s mental health and a good opportunity to look into professional mental health services.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health day can be a great opportunity to schedule a therapy session or reach out to a mental health professional for support.

Get The Help You Need, Now

Canyon Creek Behavioral Health, of Temple, Texas, is here to help. Our inpatient and outpatient programs for adults and adolescents provide psychoeducational services as part of our comprehensive treatment approach. Our program promotes healing, the development of healthy habits and the implementation of positive coping strategies in your daily routine.

Give us a call at 254-410-1819 or complete this form to get started on your mental health journey today.

If you think your teen is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or get to the nearest emergency room.

For medical emergencies, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.

Canyon Creek Behavioral Health

Canyon Creek Behavioral Health is a facility that services the behavioral health needs of adults, adolescents and older adults. We provide inpatient and outpatient treatment, where we serve people from all backgrounds. Our team of highly qualified and skilled therapists are prepared to meet your individual needs. This includes treating those facing mental health issues and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Here at Canyon Creek we believe it’s possible to live a life of stability and purpose. Some of our services include our adult inpatient program, adolescent inpatient services and more. Located in Temple, Texas, we’re committed to being an active member of the Temple community and improving its understanding of mental health.

To schedule a no-cost, confidential assessment, please give us a call at 254-410-1819 or fill out the form on our contact page here.