Forum: Give students more leeway if they need a break from school

I fully sympathise with the Ministry of Education over its unenviable task of looking to solve the complex problem of mental health issues among the young, while dealing with what can be the unrealistic pressure of society and demanding parents.

However, while it is true that such problems cannot be solved by the ministry alone, it can do better than simply putting resources out there for the young who are reticent about opening up.

One reason that some are afraid to open up to their school counsellors is that they are afraid that doing so would affect their daily life.

The entire process of seeking help should be laid out clearly for both students and parents, perhaps on a dedicated website so the resources can be accessed anonymously at any time.

This way, at least the process is made clear to all, and the young may be more willing to make that decision.

However, as young people may still not wish to seek help from their school when facing mental health issues, the ministry should relook its rules on school absenteeism.

When I was schooling, letters from parents were not accepted for any absence of more than a few days because I was told that "if you are sick, you should seek medical help".

But it is clear that mental health issues transcend psychosomatic symptoms, and if parents are fine with giving their child a short-term break, then the school should be more understanding.

Wiesiek Khoo Geng Kit

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