Pediatric Depression: When Does Parental Refusal for Treatment Constitute Medical Neglect?

Adolescents probably do not get to contribute
to their mental health care as much as they do about other things, like other illnesses. And part of the reason for that is actually
certain state laws. So the Florida state law actually says that
kids can’t consent to their own antidepressant medication treatment. So if a kid wants to start an antidepressant
medication and the parent doesn’t, we can’t do it. Kids can’t admit themselves to a psychiatric
hospital because they are depressed or suicidal. The state’s law actually says that kids under
the age of 18 are disabled. That is what the law says. Some parents refuse to treat depression in
their children because they don’t understand what depression is. So parents may not realize depression is a
legitimate medical illness. So what that means is that we have to work
with the parents a lot on why we think treatment is important. With depression, I think it is very difficult,
it is almost like an invisible illness. It is very difficult to just see symptoms
of it. If you have an asthma attack, you going to
see your kid coughing or not breathing. It is hard to see depression. And sometimes when we talk parents about what
is going on with their kid, they don’t see it, because depression is invisible and depression
makes kids feel like they have to keep it a secret because they feel ashamed. That can actually make depression worse. So, like not only are we not treating depression,
but we can actually be making it worse by not listening to when kids tell us how bad
they are feeling and by ignoring their requests for help. But we really need to fight for the kids. The kids are the ones that are suffering and
the kids are the ones who are dying. I don’t think people realize that depression
kills. People always say that people die from suicide,
that is really depression. So if we view depression like any other illness,
we should be able to talk about it like any other illness, we should talk about the risks
and benefits. But we should also hold people accountable
for getting treatment. And if you have a kid who is suffering with
an illness and they ask for treatment, we should find a way to get that kid treatment.

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  1. what would the child do in this situation? i’ve tried researching but the only thing that comes up is what the parent should do, but what do you do if the parent refuses to even diagnose the child?

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