Spoonie Musings is a platform for discussion about the realities of living with chronic illness and mental illness.

How to Receive Mental Health Treatment as a Minor

How to Receive Mental Health Treatment as a Minor

       Realizing you have a problem is the first step in getting help for your mental illness. It is such an important step on the road to recovery. It means that you are finally ready to reach out to medical care providers and begin treatment to help you manage your illness. But what happens when you are a minor and your parents will not allow you to get psychological help?

       Unfortunately, this is the case for many minors suffering from a mental illness. Unfortunately, many parents are ignorant and/or plagued with fears of mental illness stigma. Without your parents’ support, it can seem impossible to receive help for your illness as a minor. I am here to tell you that even though it may seem impossible, it is not!

       Below, I have listed some tips on how to receive help even if your parent will not allow you to.

1. Try to have an open discussion with your parent or legal guardian about why it would be important for you to seek treatment.

       Unfortunately, many parents are ignorant to the fact that mental illness should be treated like any other illness and should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. Your parents may not even think that you could be suffering from a mental illness. They may pass it off as you just wanting attention. It is your job to help them understand that this is very real and something you should be seeking medical help for. It is best to explain your illness to them calmly. Getting upset and angry, although understandable, will not help the situation. If your parent's main concern comes from the cost of treatment, remind them that there are many places that have a sliding scale and will only make you pay what you can afford.

2. Find out the legal age for medical and psychological treatment in your state or area.

       Do a quick search online or talk to a medical professional to find out what the legal age for medical and psychological treatment is. In some states, the age can be as low as 14 years old, which would allow you to make your own medical decisions without having to get consent from a parent or legal guardian.

3. Talk to your school guidance counselor for personal counseling.

       Go to the office at your school and ask to speak to the Guidance Counselor. If they are not available to see you immediately, schedule an appointment. They may be able to provide counseling themselves. If not, they can refer you to a service that can.

4. Speak to your pediatrician.

       Talking to your primary care provider is always a good idea. They can refer you to a psychiatrist to be diagnosed and can help explain to your parents the importance of you getting treatment. They can also offer great advice about receiving treatment when your parents don't think you need it.

5. Reach out to a trusted adult, religious leader, relative, or teacher.

       These people can help find you options where you can receive treatment. It’s also extremely important to talk to someone else about what you are going through so you will not feel alone.

       Remember that if you are ever in immediate danger to yourself you can always contact the suicide prevention line or go to the nearest emergency room.

       I have to say I am extremely proud of you for realizing that you need help. It is not an easy thing to admit, especially when you have parents that do not understand the need for treatment. At the end of the day remember that mental illness is just like any other illness. If you had a physical illness you would go to the doctor for treatment. Mental illness should be looked at the same way. Don't stop until you receive the help and treatment you deserve!

Best of luck,

Clarissa

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