Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and beginning April 20th, 2021 (Eastern Time) the Yahoo Answers website will be in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account. You can find more information about the Yahoo Answers shutdown and how to download your data on this help page.

Jerry asked in HealthMental Health · 6 years ago

Can this stay confidential?

Let's pretend there is a kid named Doug. Doug is 16, lives in Wyoming, and knows there is something wrong with him. However he wants to get medicated and talk with someone about what he is experiencing without his parents knowing. Does Doug's doctor have to tell his parents about it, even if he doesn't receive any meds?

3 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Just the simple logistics of trying to get seen will be difficult for you.

    If it is your regular doctor, then they will have records and will wonder why you are making an appointment on your own. They may call your parents to confirm the appointment.

    If it is another doctor, they will need your insurance info. And that will lead directly to your parents.

    Either way, there is a good chance that your parents will hear about it if you try making an appointment.

    You could, of course, talk to your doctor privately during a regular physical or other appointment. Different states, and perhaps different doctor's offices, will have different standards for what will be kept confidential.

    In that case, you could directly ask your doctor whether a discussion about your mental health will be treated confidentially. If the doctor thinks you are a danger to yourself or to others, then they will almost certainly be required to break confidentiality. But if you were to explain that you worry that disclosing the content of the discussion will open you to inappropriate treatment by your parents, and that the problem has to do with something less threatening like anxiety or social phobias, then the discussion might be privileged.

    But getting into treatment after that would again run into the problem of insurance. Perhaps, on the recommendation of your doctor, your parents would allow you to see a counselor without being privy to the content of the sessions? It seems obvious that you would benefit from that, but some parents might not agree to such conditions.

    Another approach might be to find access to a counselor without involving your doctor.

    Is there a counselor at school who deals with the mental health of students? Again, as long as you don't appear to be a threat to yourself or others, they may be allowed to keep the content of your discussions private. You can ask them directly how the issue will be handled.

    Or you could try phoning an organization that deals regularly with at-risk teens, something like Boys Town. You could ask them if they can help you understand the confidentiality rules in Wyoming, and whether they can help you find a counselor to talk to without involving your parents.

    However, note that if your condition needs medications, you will need to have them prescribed by a doctor, an actual M.D. Also note that any medications will need to be disclosed to your parents while you are underaged.

    I know the relationship with your parents is fraught. But you are suffering now, and you will continue to suffer until you can find a way to get assistance. Maybe in the end you will need to involve your parents. Is there a person you trust who could help you bridge the divide? A teacher, coach, clergy, mother of a friend, relative? It is something to keep in mind if you cannot find any other way to get into treatment.

    I know you are suffering and finding help is challenging, but don't let that defeat you. There is a way to a brighter future, and you will just need to sort it out.

    HTH, and since we cannot vote for best answers any more, I would appreciate it if you could pick a best answer for this question.

  • 6 years ago

    The doctor can involve the parents if he/she feels that the patient cannot make decisions regarding treatment by themselves. At 16 you are usually seen as mature enough to make your own decisions about your body so parents would not need to be informed. However, if the doctor does not believe you are emotionally/physically able to deal with your treatment by yourself, he/she is allowed to inform parents

    Source(s): I'm a nurse
  • cobra
    Lv 7
    6 years ago


Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.