OREGON — Oregon has some of the highest suicide rates in the country.
That’s why a new bill is aiming to address mental health in schools across the state.
Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law last month.
It will allow students across the state to have excused absences for “mental health days.”
That means students can take time off of school like they would a “sick day.”
“So many of my close friends in high school struggled with depression and there were times that I saw them at school when they really shouldn’t have been. It would have been much better for them to take a day off and feel better. And so that’s something that I want to see future high schoolers not have to go through,” said Hailey Hardcastle, a student activist behind the bill.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, suicide is the second leading cause of death in Oregonians age 10 to 24.
Students who helped write the bill say it’s meant to change the stigma around mental health.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia. She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.