In most states, children under 18 need parental consent before receiving mental health treatment. However, the laws vary, so a child in a marriage or in the military may be exempt from parental consent. Often, school guidance counselors can refer an underage person to a therapist. Regardless of age, it is imperative to discuss the benefits of therapy with your parents. The first step is to talk to your parents about the benefits of therapy with a licensed mental health professional.
If your parents do not have health insurance, you may have to seek treatment without their consent. Mental health treatment is costly in the U.S. and most people who receive it use their health insurance. If your parents have health insurance, you are already halfway to a free mental health care plan. The only catch is that you will likely have to pay a copay, which is just a small portion of the bill. However, monthly medications and weekly therapy can add up quickly.
The law may sound great on paper, but implementing it is another matter. Private clinics and university clinics bill parents, and mental health counselors embedded in schools aren’t paid per visit. So, what does this mean for your child? And how can a mental health counselor know if a minor is not old enough to consent to treatment? Fortunately, it is possible to get mental health treatment without parental consent in Maryland.