Governor Chris Christie recently signed a bill that allows teens aged 16 and older to access mental health care treatment without the permission of a parent. New Jersey is the 17th state to pass such a law, but it is the first state where teenagers actually helped construct the law and advocated for it in the state legislature.
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County presented the bill in front of legislators. They explained that many teens are uncomfortable letting their parents know about their mental health issues and that some parents may not let their children go to counseling. The club members persuaded assemblymen to sponsor the bill, which lead to it being passed by the state Senate.
The bills focuses on teens who are seeking mental health resources because they live in families with alcohol abuse, substance issues, or violence. The bill is also intended to help teens who may be contemplating suicide, especially for LGBT youth as statistics from the National Alliance to End Homelessness show that one in five homeless teens are LGBT and 62 percent of homeless LGBT youth have attempted suicide.
The new law requires the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to have information on their website explaining how teens can access mental health resources. The Department will be distributing free printed materials to all behavioral centers and mental health professionals.
If you have questions about this new law or any other legal matter in New Jersey, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm. Call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.