Mental health days… not just “days off”

Sep 29, 2019, 11:49 PM | Updated: Sep 30, 2019, 5:57 am
Utah is a leading state for anxiety rates in the United States....
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY – Psychologists all over the world are praising the effectiveness of mental health days for people battling depression of anxiety.  However, they say there are right ways and wrong ways to do them.  Plus, they say teens who feel they need one should avoid screen time, altogether.

Not all mental health days are created equal.  Psychologists say they should be used in different ways, depending on what the person needs them for, but, they should never be used as simply just a “day off.”  Sure, if you’re exhausted, taking it easy could help you recharge your batteries.  However, if someone is depressed, counselors say that person shouldn’t isolate themselves from others on those days.

“I know a lot of teens that I work with in my practice that really want a mental health day because they’re avoiding things or they’re depressed.  If that’s the case, you need to help them figure out what’s going on and what’s causing the depression,” according to psychologist Karen Checketts.

Isolation is a sign of depression and Checketts says avoiding people could make things worse.

She adds, “Try to focus on the things that make you feel good about life.  Look for the things that are working.  Be with people that you love and love you.”

For anxious people, Checketts says mental health days should be used as a chance to face their fears.  Perhaps they could approach strangers and speak with them, or they could have that awkward discussion they’ve been putting off.

However, if a teen wants a mental health day, for any reason, screen time should be severely limited.

Checketts says, “I have a big bias against them.  I think kids don’t need to be on their tablets and phones more than an hour a day.  They need to be forced to talk to one another.”

She can cite studies showing screen time is having a much bigger negative impact on teens than many people would believe.

“Studies show that people are losing their empathy because they can say and do things over text that they wouldn’t do if they were in front of them.  Also, they’re losing their ability to really communicate,” she says.

On Monday, October 1, KSL Newsradio is hosting a free workshop on teen anxiety, depression and screen time.  It’s free to the public and it starts at 6 p.m. at the Miller Auditorium on the Salt Lake Community College’s Sandy Campus.

Today’s Top Stories

Mental Health Resources

mental health rural...
Don Brinkerhoff

Staffing may be short at Huntsman Mental Health Institute; expert says reach out anyways if you need help

The Huntsman Mental Health Institute is experiencing a staffing shortage, but Business Operations Manager Anne Stephens says to call anyways if you need help.
1 month ago
Two cases of hepatitis have been found in Utah....
Amanda Dickson

Mental health services expanding for children (and parents) in Utah

Utah officials note a 300% increase in mental health crises in children over the last ten years. Immediate help can be a gamechanger.
1 month ago
Gov. Cox Ukraine State of the Union...
Mark Jones

May 7 declared as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Utah

Gov. Spencer Cox declared Saturday, May 7 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Utah.
2 months ago
mental health daylight exposure...
Jacob Rueda

Researchers say mental health affected by daylight exposure

With daylight saving time possibly becoming permanent, researchers say daylight exposure can affect mental health, and more darkness during winter might be harmful,
3 months ago
Suicide prevention concert at the Maverik Center...
Jacob Rueda

Utah mental health centers ready for switch to new 988 number

Utah mental health facilities are preparing for an upgrade to the national suicide prevention number from a 10-digit number to a three-digit number.
4 months ago
A family photo shows Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, who at 10 years old died by suicide over the sec...
Aimee Cobabe and Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawmakers approve bill inspired by Izzy Tichenor to track who gets bullied at school

Utah lawmakers passed a bill to require school officials to collect data on kids who are getting bullied. That data would include the victim's demographics.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Mental health days… not just “days off”