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Illinois is fighting the anxiety crisis by giving students five mental health days a year
via Pexels

There is a mental health crisis among America's youth. Major depression in adolescents is up 47% for boys and 65% for girls since 2013 and suicide has increased a staggering 56% from 2007 to 2017 according to the National Federation of State High Schools.

Experts have yet to pin down the specific causes of this crisis but it's believed that increased pressure to succeed, unrealistic expectations caused by social media, and technology's effect on how humans connect may be contributing factors.

"Most experts would agree with me that there is more stress today than in previous generations. Stress triggers depression and mood disorders, so those who are predisposed to it by their creative wiring or genes are pretty much guaranteed some symptoms of depression at the confusing and difficult time of adolescence," Therese J. Borchard, author of "Beyond Blue," says.


"I think modern lifestyles — lack of community and family support, less exercise, no casual and unstructured technology-free play, less sunshine and more computer — factors into the equation," Borchard continues.

On top of the societal factors that have led to a decade-plus decline in mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also been hard on American youth.

Pritzker with President Biden earlier this year

To help children and teens better cope with the increased stress in their lives, the state of Illinois is now allowing students to take up to five mental health days per year without a doctor's note. The new law was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week.

The bill passed the Illinois House and Senate unanimously.

Illinois now joins Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia on the growing list of states that have passed similar bills.

The new law is a big step towards removing the stigma surrounding mental health by making it as important as students' physical well-being.

"It's critical that schools are offering support to students who struggle with their mental health," state Representative Barbara Henandez said in a statement. "Just as we would allow a student with a cold or fever to stay home from school, students should be able to have the same treatment for days where they need a break for their mental health."

Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, medical director of the Child Mind Institute, says we should use mental health days as a way to allow children to celebrate big achievements in school such as completing a big project.

However, if the child is suffering from anxiety or depression, Koplewicz believes that parents and faculty should refer to them as sick days instead of mental health days to remove the sigma.

"Sick days are sick days, whether it's physical or mental," he said.

via Pixabay

In addition to giving kids the mental breaks they desperately need, mental health days are a way to normalize self-care. When schools promote routines that prioritize mental health, they normalize these behaviors and teach children that their mental health is just as important as their physical.

It's great that multiple states are now putting the mental health of their students front and center, but the most important focus should be on fixing the societal problems that have led to the mental health decline in the first place.

Let's see what happens when we start giving kids technology-free days where they look at the world around them through their eyes, instead of a screen, and see how things begin to change.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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