#ICANHELP & #Work2BeWell Students Successfully Help Pass Legislation in Oregon: What it Means Going Forward

Students in Oregon can now make up classwork, homework, and tests when taking needed days away from the classroom for their mental health. New legislation was recently passed in Oregon thanks to a group of students, including Hailey Hardcastle and Derek Evans, who lobbied state lawmakers for a new bill. 

The story about the new bill and students behind it recently aired on NBC News and the Today Show. Watch the story as aired on the Today Show here and NBC News here

#ICANHELP would like to congratulate Hailey, Derek, and others who were part of the #ICANHELP Student Well Being Trust Board. The board was a year-long initiative to improve mental health and wellness education in the state of Oregon. 

Through the Student Well Being Trust Board, students received training on how to address the state Senate. They then presented the bill to the senate for consideration. It then moved onto a vote. During the process, the students had to respond to a long list of challenging questions to determine if representatives would vote in favor of the bill. The bill went through the house and Senate and became a law. 


What This New Bill Tells Us 

Youth have the ability to change their world, and it’s truly inspiring to see #ICANHELP students doing everything they can to make a positive difference. Their success in leading this initiative signals several important changes, including the following: 

  • Ripple Effect 

What these students have accomplished in Oregon may create a ripple effect across the country, helping students get much needed excused absences when they are in need of mental health breaks. We anticipate that other states will follow suit with the help of students leading the charge. 

  • Educating and Empowering to Students on Mental Health Matters

#ICANHELP is assisting with a larger rollout of student activism in several additional states as well as creating and implementing curriculum and resources for digital wellness and youth empowerment. #ICANHELP is working in partnership with The Well Being Trust, Providence St. Joseph Health and state student leadership organizations. We believe that this new effort and partnership will continue to yield results as it has in Oregon. 

  • Youth Mental Health is Beginning to Receive the Attention it Deserves

Mental health is a serious topic and lawmakers are beginning to listen. As explained above, this bill allows students to make up missed work and tests and reduce the tremendous amount of stress and pressure that is put on them throughout the school year. With suicide rates in some states continuing to rise, enabling students to better manage their stress could have a very real and significant impact in declining the number of suicides among youth. 

  • There are Students Working Behind the Scenes That Deserve Recognition and Support

For every success story, there are dozens more just waiting to fully develop or receive the attention they deserve. #ICANHELP organizes the #Digital4Good Awards to showcase students across the country who are making a positive difference by using social media and digital tools for good. The event will also help tens of thousands of students watching online understand how they can have a similar impact in their school. 

#Digital4Good will be livestreamed to schools, businesses, organizations, and students. Participating students will share their stories and advice to peers while receiving awards for their efforts. To stream the event live and for free, register here

The story was also covered in the following publications: 

Congratulations once again to Hailey, Derek, and all the others involved in this effort. You have given hundreds of thousands of students in Oregon the ability to proactively manage their mental health and reactively address mental health challenges without impacting their grades or academic future!