LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new bipartisan Kentucky law allows students to use mental health as a reason for an excused absence.
While many districts already allow a certain number of unexcused absences, health experts said it's a win for reducing the stigma around mental healthcare.
Under the bill, each Kentucky school district’s student attendance policy would have to include provisions for excused absences due to a student’s mental or behavioral health status. Supporters of the bill say it will help students get relief from the stress of the pandemic.
The bill makes no changes regarding the number of excused absences that are allowed.
Dr. Stephen Taylor, with UofL Health - Peace Hospital, said it's best to start talking about mental health before there is a problem.
"Our job as parents is to sort of create a kind of space that's safe for expressing thoughts and feelings," Taylor said. "If we're doing that for our kids, we're going to have much more success in how they're feeling, what's going on and more subtle changes too."
Taylor said behavioral changes in younger children can mean there's a sign of mental stressors going on and should warrant a conversation.
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