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NSYSU first created a mental distress leave, hoping to soothe the students who "catch a cold in the mood"


Students' psychological issues have attracted much attention. The Children and Youth Welfare Division of the Executive Yuan recently raised the discussion on the establishment of "mental health days". The high schools have yet to decide, and the universities have already taken the lead. In May 2021, National Sun Yat-sen University took the lead in Taiwan to create the first "mental distress leave". In addition to allowing students to take psychological leave, they can also assist in referrals to counseling units if necessary. Students who "catch a cold in the mood" can bravely ask for leave to take a break and recharge.

On May 5 last year, students of NSYSU put forward a proposal in the student affairs meeting, hoping to promote the addition of "mental distress leave" and faced with the fact that students may "catch a cold in the mood", which was unanimously supported by the representatives present. The related measures are to notify the tutors to care and introduce a caring mechanism, refer the counseling and health service division if necessary, hoping to catch students who need assistance in a timely manner, so that these breathless students can get space and time to rest before the situation worsens.

Ching-Li Yang, NSYSU Vice President for Student Affairs said that since the 2022 academic year, 6 students have applied for this kind of leave, accounting for less than 1% of the total leave requesters. Some students will write down their feelings on the reason for requesting leave, and teachers can know what problems students encounter.

In early November 2020, 3 students at National Taiwan University chose to end their lives within 5 days, and the issue of student psychology became the focus of media attention. The Ministry of Education has inventoried the psychological counseling resources of various schools to assist universities in supplementing relevant software and hardware. College students and high school students have also initiated the demand for psychological leave. In addition to many university students who have made proposals on campus, some high school students who are Children and Youth Welfare committee members proposed and passed a resolution at the meeting of the Rights Development of Children and Youth Welfare of the Executive Yuan in April, hoping to separate an independent "mental health days" from personal leave and sick leave, providing a short-term space for students to adjust emotional stress, but it has not yet been finalized.

Not only in Taiwan, but almost all higher education institutions around the world have found that the number of students with poor emotional maladaptation in their daily life, or even mental disorders, is increasing year by year. When people have a cold, cough, or runny nose, everyone knows that people need to adjust their diet, see a doctor for treatment, and restore their bodies to health. However, when their mood is at a low ebb, people often ignore the warning signs and even cast an incomprehensible look at those who are facing emotional problems.

According to NSYSU, classifying psychological distress as a factor for taking leave means that everyone has a period of poor mental state and emotional adjustment needs. Through the mental distress leave, it can increase the understanding of the mental health of all teachers and students, and even the whole society, and alleviate the social pressure faced by students.
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