The Crucial Connection: Mental Health and School Attendance

For years, discussions surrounding attendance often focused solely on physical health concerns. However, there is a growing and crucial recognition of the deep connection between mental health and school attendance, both in academic and professional settings.

 Mental Health Attendance

Understanding the Link

Mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and stress, can significantly impact a person’s ability to attend school, work, or even social gatherings. These challenges can manifest in various ways, including:

The struggle with mental health can manifest in several ways that directly impact attendance. It can drain a person’s motivation and energy levels, making it difficult to muster the strength to attend and participate actively. Additionally, the symptoms of certain mental health conditions can significantly impair focus and the ability to manage tasks, making it challenging to keep up with the demands of being present and performing well. 

Finally, individuals battling mental health concerns may experience heightened social anxiety and fear of judgment, leading them to avoid social or professional settings altogether. These are just some of the ways mental health can directly influence a person’s ability and willingness to attend.

The Impact

Chronic absenteeism due to mental health concerns can have a ripple effect, impacting not only individuals but also institutions and society as a whole.

The consequences of neglecting mental health extend far beyond the individual. In academic settings, students struggling with mental health who miss school often experience learning gaps and find it difficult to keep pace with the curriculum, potentially impacting their overall academic performance. Similarly, in the workplace, employees battling mental health challenges may see a decline in productivity, not only affecting their own work but potentially hindering the progress and goals of their entire team. 

Furthermore, neglecting mental health can lead to more significant health problems down the line, placing a greater strain on healthcare systems and diverting resources that could be used elsewhere. These broader consequences highlight the importance of addressing mental health and creating supportive environments that prioritize well-being in all aspects of life.

The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing from December 2020 to October 2022. This study aimed to understand mental health prevalence and its impact. Key findings include:

  • 42.9% of people aged 16–35 years had experienced a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Several of these people experienced these mental disorders during school-years.
  • 21.5% of people had a 12-month mental disorder, with anxiety being the most common group, resulting in long-lasting absence in classes. (affecting 17.2% of people aged 16–35 years).
  • Among 16–24-year-olds, 38.8% had a 12-month mental disorder.

The Health and Wellbeing Survey 2022

Similar to the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, there is another study specifically done within the workplace and is really not so different. According to the Health and Wellbeing at Work 2022 Survey conducted by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) in partnership with Simplyhealth, mental health plays a crucial role in workplaces, affecting both individuals and organizations. Key findings from the survey:

  • Prevalence of Mental Health Issues:
  • Sickness Absence and Mental Health:
    • 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
    • Stress, depression, and anxiety are significant contributors to work-related ill health, resulting in 17.1 million days lost in 2022/232.
    • Mental ill health is the top cause of long-term absence, with musculoskeletal issues being the second top cause.

Attendance Radar

Attendance Radar is an app that helps teachers track attendance of their students with a variety of features. Being able to track every student in class effectively without much effort can help identify which students are lacking attendance and will allow the teachers to reach out to those who are not in class, in time for intervention against the reasons behind the absence. Most commonly, it is mental health.

Attendance Radar uses Bluetooth technology to transmit a secret token from a trainer’s phone to students’ phones. Students can then mark themselves present with just one click! This streamlined process allows you to track the attendance of a class with hundreds of students in a matter of seconds.

Download Attendance Radar here

Mental Health School

Moving Forward

Recognizing the link between mental health and attendance is crucial for creating supportive and inclusive environments. This is why fostering open and honest conversations about mental health is crucial. This reduces the stigma surrounding it and encourages individuals to seek help when needed.

 Additionally, providing access to mental health resources like counseling services or online support groups equips individuals with the tools they need to manage their well-being and maintain consistent attendance. 

Finally, implementing flexible work and school arrangements, such as remote work options or excused mental health absences, demonstrates understanding and support for those facing mental health challenges. These combined efforts create a supportive environment that prioritizes well-being and empowers individuals to thrive.


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