Mental illness affects about 20 percent of the population and is not limited to adults. Children and teenagers can experience a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Children and teenagers may be reluctant to seek help for these conditions because of stigma attached to mental illness, or fear of not fitting in with their peers. However, young people with untreated mental illness may be more at risk for other concerns, including:
Because mental illness is treatable, seeking help for your child could prevent additional issues.
You and your child have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in all treatment environments. When you seek treatment, your health care provider will give you a consent for services, which will detail your rights and responsibilities.
In Pennsylvania, children who are 14 and older have a right to seek confidential outpatient mental health services. However, you and your child may sign releases of information to allow your child's provider to communicate with you. Please keep in mind outpatient providers cannot force children into treatment.
Children who are 14 and older may also seek inpatient care independently. However, their parents may also sign them into the hospital against their will upon doctor's advice.