FAMU should offer mental health days

Photo courtesy: Thepalmettopanther.com

As World Mental Health Day passes us by, it’s easy for students to wonder whether our
mental health is actually being taken seriously, or only briefly discussed on days like
Monday where a holiday had to be designated for it to be brought up.

It is fair to say that college students don’t exactly have it the easiest. We’re expected to
complete our schoolwork on time, join organizations on campus to network and
enhance our resumes, report to our jobs in order to pay our bills, all while finding time to
have some fun so that we can get the most out of our college experiences. So, to say
the least, college can be a lot to deal with, and in the end, it takes a toll on our mental

George Hunt II, a junior pharmacy student, shared that college has caused him to
experience a few mental health issues as he juggles his various responsibilities on and
off campus.
“Throughout college, I have experienced anxiety and stress and I believe it was caused
by my workload,” Hunt said. “Between schoolwork, extracurriculars and work, I found it
draining to operate having so many things to do.”

According to The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds , 73% of students experience
some sort of mental health crisis during college, and only 25% of these students seek
help. Whether it is due to financial burden, social pressure or uncertainty about our
futures, these statistics show that not only do students experience mental health issues
at an alarming rate, but we also aren’t aware of how to handle these issues. This is why
mental health days should be considered for all students and most relevantly, Florida
A&M University students.

Makayla Jean-Baptiste, a fourth-year biology pre-medicine student, says that mental
health days would allow students to allocate their time toward getting the help that they
need, that FAMU lacks.

“FAMU should have mental health days because the counseling services have to be
booked two months in advance,” Jean-Baptiste said. “Having mental health days would
give students a chance to seek outside help without missing class and having to make
up missed work and lectures.”

Many states have executed legislation that allow for students to take mental health days
from school that are not counted against their attendance. For example, according to
cnbc.com , as of Jan. 1, 2022, schools in Illinois must allow their students to take up to
five mental health days every year. Schools in Washington, Virginia, California and eight
other states also have similar legislation in place that allow for students to be excused
from school due to mental health. So, why not Florida and why not FAMU?

Brianna Davis, a fourth-year engineering student, believes that a mental health day
would be beneficial to her as it would allow her to take time aside from her mentally
taxing major and extracurriculars

“I would utilize a mental health day to practice some self-care habits such as getting
schoolwork reorganized, resting my body and mind, and taking time to clean up my
room,” Davis said. “When I feel overwhelmed or have been too busy, the upkeep of my
room and other environments gets pushed to the side so that I can make deadlines or
attend events.”