Martwick introduces measure to allow students to take mental health days

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois may soon join Utah and Oregon in allowing students to take mental health days under a measure introduced by State Senator Robert Martwick.

Martwick introduced Senate Bill 2473 which allows public school student up to five excusable mental health days in a school year.

“This is a vital step in ending the stigma around mental health and illness,” Martwick said. “Our schools need to show students it is okay to take care of their mental health, just like they would be with a broken bone or the flu.”

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted in 2019 found that the rate of suicide increased by 56% from 2007 to 2017 among people ages 10 to 24. Suicide, in recent years, has become the second-most-common cause of death among teens and young adults. It has overtaken homicides and is outpaced only by accidents.

If a student uses one of their mental health days, they must be given the opportunity to make up any school work missed during the absence.

“This legislation will empower students to take charge of their mental health,” Martwick said. “We need to teach our young people that their mental health is important. As a state, we continue to work toward preparing our students to tackle the challenges of the 21st century – this measure will help ensure that self-care is in their toolbox.”

Martwick is looking forward to discussions on Senate Bill 2473 this upcoming legislative session.