Lawmakers push mental health days for kids amid pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — As the coronavirus pandemic takes a mental toll on young people, more states are considering expanding opportunities for students to take mental health days to try to lessen stigma and reduce youth suicide. Lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have proposed bills that would add mental or behavioral health to the list of reasons students can be absent from class. Similar laws have passed in Oregon, Maine, Colorado and Virginia in the past two years. The pandemic has increased pressure on kids who’ve been isolated from their friends and classmates for almost a year during remote learning. The portion of children’s emergency-room visits related to mental health ballooned in 2020.