Can a Minor Get Mental Health Treatment Without a Parent Knowing?

Published: July 03, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Is it possible to get help for a mental illness as a minor without your parents knowing? This is to prevent judgment from the family
Signed: Can a Minor Get Mental Health Treatment Without a Parent Knowing?

Dear Can a Minor Get Mental Health Treatment Without a Parent Knowing?,

Some states in the U.S. do allow teenagers over a certain age to obtain confidential mental health treatment. It would be best to look up the laws in your state, or ask a school guidance counselor or your primary care physician if they would help you to obtain that information.

However, there are a couple of things TeenHealthFX would like you to consider. The first is how these services will be paid for. If you do not have the money to pay for it yourself, you will either need to ask your parents for the money or use your insurance. In both cases, your parents will know you are in therapy because they will be giving you money or they will be mailed a record of your therapy sessions from the insurance company.

The second thing FX would like you to consider is that seeking out therapy without your parents knowing might possibly be a way of avoiding a problem rather than dealing with it. If you do not feel like your parents are always understanding and supportive or your emotional needs, but rather become judgmental, then that might be part of whatever is troubling you that is leading you to seek out therapy in the first place. When we are in a situation where we do not feel the support of those closest to us, it can have a negative impact on us. So even though it might feel like the less comfortable choice, perhaps in the long run it would be better to involve them in the therapy to address these issues.

Since this sounds like it could be a potentially complicated situation, FX recommends speaking to a trusted adult about it, such as a school counselor, doctor, extended family member, or the parent of a friend. That way you can explain the details of the situation and get the guidance and support you need to address whatever issues you are dealing with right now.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX