NJ considers allowing minors to get mental health help without parents knowing

More New Jersey teens may soon be able to seek medical help without their parents’ knowledge following passage of an Assembly bill paving the way for minors to get counseling for mental health issues.

Kids struggling with family dysfunction, abuse or drug addiction may need to seek mental health treatment without parental consent, according to Janet Wallach, director of teen services for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County.

“A lot of parents are in denial about any issues their children may be facing,” she said. “And then you also have the LGBT population, which may not want to come out to their parents or may know that it may cause huge scenes.”

Teens active at Wallach’s Boys and Girls Club came up with the idea for the new legislation.

Under it, New Jersey minors would be able to consent to behavioral health treatment by a licensed mental health professional, and that treatment would be considered confidential. The bill awaits action in the state Senate.

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