Illinois students can now take up to 5 mental health days a year without a doctor's note

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois students can now take up to five mental health days per school year without a doctor's note.

The absences are excused and students will be allowed to make up missed work.

Therapist Jo-Leann Trine of Thriveworks in Aurora joined ABC7 live to share more about the mandated mental health days and their impacts.

"We're bringing mental health to the limelight, we're no longer stigmatizing and keeping it to adults," Trine said. "Because kids are really feeling the impact of the pandemic and life changes like everyone else."

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Trine shared some ways parents can check in on their children's mental health, like asking them if anything made them laugh today.

"If you notice your kids having a change in their baseline, you're noticing something a little bit different, be curious," Trine said. "And honestly, most importantly, if you can do anything, it's to validate somebody's feelings."

Trine said the law requires a school counselor to check in with a student after their second consecutive mental health day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can reach out to the National SuicidePrevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.
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