By Spencer Jacobson, Staff Writer
Newman students could get up to three “mental health days” a semester under a resolution recently presented by junior baseball player Ian Lecki at the SGA meeting on Sept. 22.
As proposed by Lecki, these mental health days, similar to sick days, could be used at any point during the semester and students could not be penalized for taking one.
Lecki said he became passionate about mental health after seeing a friend struggle with anxiety and depression, later realizing that he too suffers from depression and severe anxiety.
“That was kind of a turning point….I was like, things need to change. There has to be change somewhere along the line. Because of how I feel, I am not above myself to ask for help,” he said.
After letting a professor know he was struggling, Lecki said, he was able to start getting some of the help he needed.
“I am very thankful I had help. But I look at it and there are a lot of people who don’t have that,” he said.
Lecki said he started to research mental health and found that a group of middle and high school students from Oregon, with the help of psychologists, were able to get a bill passed in the state of Oregon giving every middle school and high school student three mental health days.
Following Oregon’s bill, Lecki said, Utah, New York, Florida and California all passed one of their own.
Lecki said he hopes that someday Kansas will do the same.
“The way I look at it, it’s going to be a short period of time before every state has this, I would say within 10 to 15 years, but in 10 to 15 years, you have a lot of students who are out there and they need help,” he said.
As proposed by Lecki, to use a mental health day, a student would first need to contact their professor, and the professor would then notify Melody Head, director of career services, that the student is taking a mental health day.
Once a student has used all three days, he or she would be asked to meet with Head to get them the help they need.
However, Lecki proposed that no student be required to talk specifically about their situation.
At the conclusion of Lecki’s proposal to SGA, the body motioned to table the resolution, meaning that they will take up the issue at a later date.
Lecki said this project is still a work in progress and before it can become a reality, he needs more support from the Newman community.
“It’s only going to work if everybody’s on board. That’s the only way that this will work,” Lecki said.
Any questions or comments about the proposed mental health days resolution can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO: Madeline Alvarez, Editor-In-Chief