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Taking a Day for Mental Health

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Sarah Barger, IU Southeast communication alumna said, “Mental health days are important because they give you a day to rest your brain and clean your slate, so you can bounce back better and be more refreshed when you get back to school.”

Sarah Barger, IU Southeast communication alumna said, “Mental health days are important because they give you a day to rest your brain and clean your slate, so you can bounce back better and be more refreshed when you get back to school.”

Randi McDole

Randi McDole

Sarah Barger, IU Southeast communication alumna said, “Mental health days are important because they give you a day to rest your brain and clean your slate, so you can bounce back better and be more refreshed when you get back to school.”

Randi McDole, Staff Reporter

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Students who feel concerned for their mental health, or who may be interested in personal counseling, can visit the IU Southeast Personal Counseling Services located in University Center South room 243.

Students are often faced with strict attendance policies and high amounts of stress. Some students may choose to take the occasional mental health day.

According to Merriam-Webster, a mental health day is when employees, or in this case students, take time off in order to relieve stress or revitalize themselves.

There are no rules or stipulations stating that students who take mental health days must have some sort of mental health issues. Students of any background or life path can take a mental health day.

Breson Morelos, communication senior, said he strongly believes in mental health days.

“Personally, I have had to take some and while some find it to make up a story to professors, I prefer to tell the truth and let my professors know that I just needed a day,” Morelos said.

Morelos said sometimes his mental health days include catching up on sleep, taking care of bills and the costs of being an adult, and having to clear these things out so he can stop feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out.

He said these days help him have the ability to concentrate, learn and gather all of the data that is input and output from his brain.

One complication students can have when desiring a mental health day is school attendance policies. Many professors only allow students to miss a certain amount of times without deductions to the student’s grade.

Bernardo Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute, said he recognizes that students may need time for themselves.

“Since I do not take attendance in most of my classes, the students are free to take all of the mental health days they wish,” Carducci said.

Morelos said he does not feel professors should be required to give students mental health days, but they should be considerate and possibly build in some mental health days to their course schedule.

“We need a little bit of wiggle room and understanding from professors,” Morelos said.

Sarah Barger, IU Southeast communication alumna, said she also does not believe professors should be required to give mental health days, but should consider having at least one day where homework is not required, or if possible, to allow students to take a day off every couple of weeks.

Barger said it would be nice if the university encouraged professors to take students mental health into account, but not required.

She also said professors often use spring break as a time to assign large assignments and that more frequent breaks are a good idea because students would have more of an opportunity to rest their brains and take some time for their mental health.

Rebecca Ochoa, computer science junior, said to try and schedule a day off of work on the weekend, since most classes only meet Monday through Thursday, once a month to take a breather.

“Enjoy some time outside if the weather is nice because you spend lots of time indoors,” Ochoa said. “Take a bubble bath with some relaxing bath bombs or salts. Wear comfy clothes or dress up if you never get to. [Do] whatever helps you relax.”

Ochoa said to reward yourself and take care of yourself on your mental health days.

There are many resources for students who feel stressed. Talking to professors, visiting the Personal Counseling Services, and taking time for one’s mental health are all resources students can use.

Brandon Smith, workplace communication and leadership expert and The Workplace Therapist creator, said dysfunction thrives in darker places and you should work towards eliminating these dark places by being clear about your needs and expectations.

“Feelings of extreme apathy, like you just don’t care, or extreme anxiety about nothing in particular, are cues that could indicate you would be better off taking a day to reset,” Smith said.

Mental health days can be one of the needs a student may have.

If students feel they need to talk about their mental health or see a counselor, they can visit the IU Southeast Personal Counseling Services. Located in University Center South room 243, the Personal Counseling Services are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to the Personal Counseling Services website, some of the services offered include individual counseling, couples counseling, family counseling (students and parents), faculty and staff consultation, and referral to specialized services.

Under the heading, “Do I Need Counseling,” students can see symptoms students who typically need counseling exhibit.

Other sections include Counselor Obligations, Stress, Common Indications of Increased Risk for Suicide, Mental Health and Wellness Series, Care Management, and more.

Morelos, Barger, and Ochoa all said they have taken mental health days during their college careers and all of them recommended it to others.

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Taking a Day for Mental Health