Teens and Confidentiality

We want parents and teens to talk early and often about sexuality, drug use, and mental health. Your job is not over yet! Parents play an important role in their teen’s health behavior. Yet as teens begin to mature, one-on- one time with a health care provider is a part of growing up. They begin to learn how to advocate for their own health care needs or manage a chronic health condition on their own. These are important things all teens should learn how to do. During this time, teens may ask questions or raise concerns that they might not be ready to discuss with you. Maybe they are too embarrassed. In Minnesota, teens have the right to confidential care around pregnancy, family planning, STI testing and treatment, and drug and alcohol abuse treatment.

While confidentiality does mean that teens can keep certain details of their visit private, we want to partner with and support you in this journey of parenting, since YOU are your teen’s most important adult. Also, confidentiality has its limits. If there is a threat to your teen’s life or another person’s life, providers have the duty to inform you and sometimes someone else, like a social worker, to make a plan to protect your teen.