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When you’re a teen or young adult who wants to reveal something important to a professional without your parents knowing, confidentiality is a concern. This article will help you understand what professionals can and can’t keep confidential.

Do I need my parents’ permission to see a professional?

If you are 14 or older, your parents don’t need to be informed if you decide to see a healthcare professional, unless it involves a major health issue. And you don’t need your parents’ permission to reach out to a service like Tel-Jeunes no matter how old you are.


Professionals are required to keep professional secrecy, meaning that they cannot reveal anything you tell them. Anything you share with them is confidential. That said, there are a few exceptions depending on your age and the situation. 📁


Under age 14

Your parents can access your files. If you need to see a professional about your physical health (like getting birth control or an abortion) or mental health (like talking to a school counsellor), you need their permission.


Age 14 and Over

Your file is confidential and you can see a professional without telling your parents. That said, there are some exceptional situations where a professional cannot keep their professional secrecy.


Exceptional situations

In some exceptional situations, a professional cannot keep things confidential if they believe you or someone else is in significant danger. In that case, they can reveal the information needed to keep you or other people safe (like your name and date of birth, where you are, and why you are in danger) even if you are over 14.


Even then, though, professionals cannot reveal all of the information you’ve shared with them unless it’s essential.


You also have the right to express your concerns to the professional and ask as many questions as you need about professional secrecy. You can also reach out to us for more info.


What will happen if I talk about it?

When we reveal a secret or share something important, we may be afraid that we won’t be believed, that the situation will be turned against us, or that there will be negative consequences for others. We may think that it's better to keep it to ourselves. But carrying a secret that makes us feel bad is often a sign that we shouldn’t be left alone with it. You need to listen to this feeling and talk to someone you trust. You don't have to share every detail or have exactly the right words to express yourself. You can simply start by saying, "I'm afraid to talk about it.” If this is your situation, know that Tel-jeunes is always there for you; do not hesitate to contact us.


Source: Éducaloi