09/22/2022 Teen Gets Law Passed That Gives Students Mental Health Days

This story is making its way around social media & the internet this week – & rightfully so. And…there are nuances to discuss as to why this story is so important.

You might ask why this is a big deal now, when Hailey got this law passed in 2019 in her home state of Oregon. Well a number of reasons:

1) It’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Much like we gave props to The Today Show for the stories they have been highlighting, we need to do same with People, here. Those of us who are in this space &/or care abt this space (all of us on this page) we are used to it taking a back seat, despite there being months dedicated to it. Thanks, People Magazine, for not doing that here. The ability to take days off for MH, like we do physical health, is a suicide prevention tool – yes, in the short & long term.

2) I love that the headline talks abt panic attacks (a symptom), & not the label of “anxiety.” Folks can deny/not like/shy away from/tune out, a label. Folks cannot deny if they themselves have had a panic attack in the past or seen a friend or fam member have one. WHAT we go thru – the traumas & the after effects are what unite us & show this is an ALL of us topic, instead of an “us & them, the affected ppl,” topic.

3) Since the law was passed in Oregon, 11 states have followed suit. That’s right – a teenager & her friends & fam changed law to move the convo forward. This is empowering. Means any one of us can make a positive impact on the lives of others. 

4) It was reasonable – it started w her mom giving her 3 days per school yr. It wasn’t a “blank check” to take off whenever. So, it was preventative that she wouldn’t get so sick, that she needed even more days. “Prioritize the Pause” when needed.

Such a great story – the “people” behind it, and “People” for highlighting it.

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