According to News Center Maine, Governor Janet Mills has signed a bill into law that expands student absences to include mental health and behavioral health as well as physical health.

Many Maine students are struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression at rates above the national average.

A Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey found that 30% of high school students in Maine reported feeling sad or hopeless. It is heartbreaking to learn that 16% reported that they have seriously considered attempting suicide.

Allowing mental health days is part of an effort to destigmatize mental illness and to provide support at an early age, giving kids the tools to cope with issues like anxiety and depression.

The law goes into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is before the close of the school year.