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A New Law Allowing Students To Take Mental Health Days Has Passed

The World Health Organisation has predicted some 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) data shows that between 2007 and 2011 there was an increase in the suicide rate in Ireland, specifically among men.  

Provisional figures for 2013 (475 deaths) and 2014 (459 deaths) indicate a decrease in the numbers of deaths by suicide, but is the rate simply getting better before it gets worse?

With real-world fears punctuating daily news – climate change, inflation, job losses – the way we tackle anxieties and existential fear with children and young people is as important as it is life-saving. 

Which is exactly why it's so positive to see tangible progress being made. 

A group of teen activists in Oregon, with aims to ensure that this generation is the last one to face mental health stigmatism, have helped to pass a law that will allow students in their state to take excused days off of school for mental health reasons. 

"I took on this cause for a personal reason first off because so many of my close friends in high school struggled with depression, and there were times when I saw them at school when they really shouldn't have been there, would have been much better for them to take a day off,” Hailey Hardcastle, a recent high school graduate and one of the activists who helped lobby for the new law, told TODAY.

The law, which will go into effect this autumn will allow students five mental health days every three months.

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Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds in Oregon, outpacing the national average.

According to  the Associated Press this is believed to be the first law in the country to make mental health as important as physical health.

"We were inspired by Parkland in the sense that it showed us that young people can totally change the political conversation," Hardcastle told AP. "Just like those movements, this bill is something completely coming from the youth."

This law also adds to the growing movement to recognise the importance of young people’s mental health around the country.

Utah passed a similar law last year to increase mental health services and Florida now requires schools to offer mental health classes at their schools starting in sixth grade.

Main image by @emmawise18

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