You can: Get a free lawyer to help you avoid continued inpatient* mental health treatment.
If your parent or guardian has admitted you to a facility for inpatient mental health treatment because a doctor recommended it, you can appeal their decision if you are 14 or older and feel you do not need treatment.
To appeal, you must:
Get a petition form from the facility; and
Have the facility file your petition with the court.
The facility must give you the petition form and must file your petition form with the court.
Then you will get a free lawyer, and a hearing will be scheduled within 72 hours. The court can release you if it finds your petition has merit, but it can decide you must stay at the facility for continued treatment if:
You have been diagnosed with a mental disorder;
The mental disorder is treatable, and treatment is available at the facility you are now in; and
Inpatient treatment is the best option available.
Your parent or guardian can: Send you to outpatient
or inpatient* mental health treatment without your permission.
Before your parent or guardian can have you admitted for inpatient treatment without your permission, a doctor must first examine you and recommend that you get inpatient care.
If you feel you've been unfairly placed in inpatient mental health treatment and do not need inpatient care, you can petition the decision. (Keep reading to find out how that works).
You can: Be referred by a health care provider and
get counseling on your own.
If you are 14 or older in Pennsylvania, you can ask a doctor to refer you to outpatient* mental health treatment (counseling) without telling your parent or guardian and without getting their permission.
Generally, this means that you also have the right to get outpatient treatment on your own, even if a parent or guardian doesn't agree that you should get treatment.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Whether you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, it can sometimes be hard to ask for help.
Find out about your rights in Pennsylvania to get counseling and other mental health treatment on your own.
If you are 14 or older and referred by a doctor and get outpatient* psychological treatment on your own, then your doctors cannot discuss with your parent or guardian any information about your treatment, unless you give them permission.
If your parent of guardian was first to give permission for you to get treatment, then your doctor may be able to share information – like your symptoms, condition, and treatment – with your parent or guardian.
You can: Be referred by a health care provider and get inpatient* treatment on your own.
If you are 14 or older in Pennsylvania, you can ask a doctor to refer you to inpatient mental health treatment (like a hospital or inpatient psychiatric unit) without telling your parent or guardian and without their permission. If you are 14 or older, you can also consent to get inpatient mental health treatment on your own.
This means that you have the right to get inpatient treatment even if a parent or guardian disagrees that you should get treatment. But once you are admitted to inpatient care, a parent or guardian must be told.
*Note that treatment is “outpatient” when you still live at home but visit a doctor or clinic for appointments during the day. Treatment is “inpatient” when you are staying overnight at a facility while getting mental health care.