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Illinois: Law allows students 5 mental health absences a year

Sept 2, 2021, NPR: Kids In Illinois Will Soon Be Able To Take 5 Mental Health Days From School https://www.npr.org/sections/back-to-school-live-updates/2021/09/02/1033605650/illinois-children-mental-health-days-schools-coronavirus

Students across Illinois will be able to take up to five excused mental health days starting in January. Under a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month, students who decide to take a mental health day will not be required to provide their school with a doctor's note and will be able to make up any work that was missed on their day off. … Child psychiatrists say they expect more children will need help The pandemic has placed unique strains on children, and as a new school year begins, child psychiatrists say they expect to see a surge of kids who need help. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between March and May of last year, hospitals across the country saw a 24% increase in the number of mental health emergency visits by kids aged 5 to 11 years old, and a 31% increase for kids 12 to 17…. The new law is designed to help kids get care With the new law in Illinois, Hernandez says students will have more of an opportunity to get the care they need. "I am really excited for this. I think it will help students, parents and teachers, and can help them understand what's going on in their students' lives," Hernandez said. Once a student requests a second mental health day, a school counselor will reach out to their family and the student may be referred to get professional help, according to the bill…. Several states have taken similar steps School districts across Illinois will have until the end of the year to come up with a specific plan to execute the new law ahead of its effective date in January. Illinois joins states such as Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia that have passed similar bills over the last two years allowing students to be absent from school due to mental or behavioral health reasons, according to The New York Times.