Mental Health and Counseling Services for Teens Under 18

In many cases, teens under 18 years of age need parent permission to seek counseling and mental health services. However, there are many reasons why parents or caretakers might not want their teenagers to seek mental health services. Some common reasons include: 

  1. Fear of judgment (stigma) by family members, close friends or the community.
  2. Fear of the impact it might have on immigration status.
  3. Fear of a child protection report or police report.
  4. Lack of understanding of confidentiality laws or what mental health support means.
  5. Insecurity or guilt because their teenager does not want to talk to them.
  6. Insurance or financial concerns.
  7. Shame, guilt or negative feelings that stop people from talking about difficult situations or problems.
  8. Lack of trust in health care providers and medical systems.
  9. Cultural beliefs about talking about personal and family issues outside the family.
  10. Personal beliefs about therapy and mental health. 

Counseling Minors Without Parental Consent

Getting mental health help is a big step in the healing process. Sometimes teens under the age of 18 want to receive counseling and mental health services but do not have their parent or caretaker’s permission. 


Minnesota allows minors (under age 18) to consent to certain types of counseling services without parental consent. (Minnesota Statutes Sections 144.341144.344).

These laws apply only to Minnesota and might differ in other states:

  1. Minor living separate and apart from parents or guardian (with or without consent, regardless of duration) who is managing her or his own financial affairs. [Minn. Stat. §144.341]
  2. Minor who has married. [Minn. Stat. §144.342] 
  3. Minor who has given birth to a child. [Minn. Stat.§144.342]
  4. If the minor was deemed a “mature minor” by a legal court. 
  5. If the minor is 16 years or older and is seeking inpatient mental health services [Minnesota Statute 253B.04 subd.1].
  6. In situations with alcohol and other drug abuse, any minor may give effective consent for medical, mental and other health services to determine the presence of or to treat alcohol and other drug abuse. [Minn. Stat. §144.343(1)]


If any of these apply to you or a teen under 18 in your life, you can seek out counseling and mental health services on your own. For more Minnesota specific information, contact: 

Allina Health Mental Health & Addiction Connection, 24/7 Allina Health resource for scheduling, referrals, questions and concerns
Phone: 1-866-603-0016

Children’s Mental Health Services
Phone: 651-431-2460


In Wisconsin, minors (under age 18) cannot access mental health and counseling services without parental consent

There is one exception:

An individual 12 years of age or over can consent to treatment and any physician or licensed facility can provide limited substance use services without the permission of a parent or guardian. However, this only applies if the parent or guardian cannot be found or there is no parent with legal custody of the minor. [Wis. Stat.§ 51.47(1).]

Minors seeking mental health services and support without parent or guardian permission may file a petition with a local court. This petition will be reviewed and decided on by a judge. [Wis. Stat.§ 51.13(4).] 

Wisconsin does not have any laws that allow an “emancipated minor” or “mature minor” to consent to health care, including mental health care. 

For more information contact: 

Allina Health Mental Health & Addiction Connection, 24/7 Allina Health resource for scheduling, referrals, questions and concerns
Phone: 1-866-603-0016

Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health

Other States

Laws regarding minor consent to mental health treatment look different in each state. To learn more about the laws in your state, here are a few places to start: 

  • Your state department of health and human services, especially any divisions or departments specific to mental health and/or youth or children’s mental health more specifically.
  • State or local advocacy organizations focused on youth mental health, including your local chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).
  • Your school psychologist or counseling team.