Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mental health counseling for minors, without parental permission

California State Senator, Mark Leno, is proposing state (not federal) legislation that would allow minors, aged 12-17, to get mental health services without parental consent. The concern is that requiring parents to give permission for the counseling will prevent the minor from getting that counseling or lead to abuse of minor by parents. Here are facts and links about the bill, SB 543

One of those links has a section titled "Issue" where it talks about reasons why parental consent can block minors from getting services. I believe this list of reasons shows the wisdom of the mental health advocates who are behind this bill. Two such reasons:

"Youth whose parents come from cultures that do not condone mental health services."

"Youth that feel shame, embarrassment or fear of disappointing their parents"

The above reasons can also apply to minors seeking reproductive and sexual health services, like birth control, abortion, STD testing or information on these.

**Note: while the links make references to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) minors, the language of the bill does not restrict these benefits to LGBT minors. Read the links, and you'll see how the bill is structured to apply to all minors.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An aunt stands up for her gay teen nephew

A good story. Her nephew got outed and kicked out of a religious high school. He was this close to graduating. The boy's parents are want to send him to a place to "cure" him. The aunt has taken him in. It was an emergency situation to help the boy, and the aunt actually asked commentors what do. They gave good advice. Here was a favorite of mine:

"Take care of the boy, get him stable and on his feet again with love and support. Take your time dealing with the extraneous stuff. His mental health comes first.
Your relationship with your sister will heal in time. She is an adult. He is not (despite what the law says)." ---by commenter "itsallme"

And that's a main point: the parents are supposed to be adults, meaning they have to deal when life doesn't turn out the way they fantasized it. They had a hetero son in their mind. They have a gay son in reality. They can deal with reality or face the strength and resistence of this aunt and her support system.

Part of this issue is that the kid needs to get to another school to finish his senior year, and hopefully get a scholarship. Often it's the case that a son or daughter must still cope with real-world responsibilities like school or work while dealing with psycho-world "responsibilities" in toxic parent land.

The anxiety and outbursts of such parents are for the back seat:....

The aunt: "My sister has called me since I wrote this diary and commanded me to tell her son to go to a Tampa church that can 'cure' him. I told her he didn't need to be cured and she hung up on me."

The entire post with 980 comments is here, on Daily Kos.