Should we Have Required Mental Health Breaks?

Maya Farrell, Arts Editor

Although we have classes that last around an hour and a half, it has been proven that our attention span only lasts around 40 minutes. Statistics have also shown that over half of high school students in America are in school for longer hours than their parents are working at their jobs. There are of course a few exceptions to this statistic. No one below the age of 18 should be working for longer than their parents towards something they’re not even being paid for.

Unless we are sick or have some sort of excuse approved ahead of time, we are legally required to show up to school. There’s nothing talking about taking breaks for mental health. Regardless of this fact, so many of us have our parents write a vague absence excuse, forge the excuse ourselves, or just carelessly skip and accept the unexcused absence; all so we can get the mental break we need.

Mental health breaks would be helpful when students get behind, their workload is intense, or even if they just need a break from the chaotic environment at Lafayette High School. Students come back to school the next day, usually all caught up, well rested, and in a near perfect state of mind to conquer their classes. Doing this is more than fine, however, the number one complaint among these students is that they get super behind on the work they missed in school.

Many parents of high school students don’t let their kids miss a day of school even if they are physically ill. A lot of the time these students also take difficult classes with a heavy workload. They often end up with no spare time whatsoever and can develop severe anxiety and depression. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all students whose parents don’t let them miss out on a day of school, but it is a severe issue in many high schools today.

There is a simple solution to this problem, which is requiring students to take a full mental health break at least once a month. It may seem a bit extreme, considering the general values of public schools in the United States, but there are plenty of countries where these sorts of breaks occur. In Japan, students get excused absences for heartbreak. And for work, employees usually get breaks right after lunch. Taking this into consideration, one day out of an entire month wouldn’t be that extreme. In short, for us to attend school in a happy and healthy way, some sort of break like this is absolutely essential to our mental, emotional, and physical health.