14 to 17 Information Page

14 to 17 Information Page


Ages 14-17
In New Mexico, people ages 14-17 have more rights to consent to certain types of health care than people under age 14.


Consent

Consent means you give permission for something to happen. On this website, we talk about consent as the legal term for agreeing to health care services. Most of the time, parents must consent to health care services for their children. In New Mexico, you can consent to some health services without your parent’s permission, even if you are under 18.

Keep in mind: just because you consent to healthcare, does not always mean that the information is confidential (private).

If you are looking for information on the laws about consent to sex, click here.


Sexual (Reproductive) Health Care

In New Mexico, people of any age can consent (agree) without their parent’s permission to sexual health care such as birth control, emergency contraception (morning after pill), pregnancy tests, prenatal care, abortion, testing for STDs and testing for HIV/AIDS.


STD Testing
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are bacteria or viruses that are spread through any sexual activity. You may also hear them called sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. STDs may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids. Some STDs (like HPV and herpes) can be spread by skin-to-skin touching even without having sex. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is one type of STD that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). STDs are very common—that is why it is a good idea to get tested if you’ve had oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

In New Mexico, you can consent (agree) to STD testing without your parents’ permission at any age. STD testing can be kept confidential (private). Find out:


STD Test Results

Be sure to let your provider know how to get hold of you to let you know of the results of your STD tests. You may want to give them a number where only you can be reached. Also, let them know if it is ok for them to leave a message in case you do not answer. STI test results are usually not sent home by mail, but it is always good to ask.

In New Mexico, STD test results can be shared with your parent/guardian. But, your parents/guardian can only get the results of the test if they contact the clinic and ask for the results.


Treatment for STDs
If you find out that you do have an STD, you have the right to consent (agree) to treatment (or medicine) on your own in New Mexico.


Birth Control

Birth control is a way for guys and girls to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control such as condoms, pills, hormonal implants, IUDs (intrauterine devices), sterilization, and the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill).

In New Mexico, you can consent (agree) to get birth control without your parents’ permission at any age. Getting birth control can also be kept confidential (private). Find out where you can get confidential birth control.


Pregnancy Testing, Counseling & Care

A pregnancy test may let you know if you are pregnant or not. If you have a positive home pregnant test, be sure to go to a health clinic within a few days. You can also get a more accurate pregnancy test at a health clinic. Once you go to a clinic and your pregnancy is confirmed, your provider should talk to you about your options. Your options are:

  1. continuing the pregnancy and parenting
  2. continuing the pregnancy and making an adoption plan
    or

  3. abortion

In New Mexico, you have the right to choose which of these options is best for you without your parents’ permission. Getting a pregnancy test, pregnancy counseling and prenatal care can also be kept confidential (private). Find out:


Prenatal Care
Medical checkups and tests help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. This is called prenatal care. If you are pregnant, it is important to start getting prenatal care right away. Talk to your provider about how to get prenatal care.


Mental (Behavioral) Health Care
Mental health care (also called behavioral health care) is care that helps with your mental and emotional well-being. A person may get mental health care when dealing with stress, changes in moods, grief, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or trouble in school. Behavioral health care also includes support for drug and alcohol use.

Certain providers can help manage mental health concerns with treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication.

In New Mexico, when you are 14 years old or older, you can consent (agree) to mental health care (also called behavioral health care) on your own without your parents’ permission. The information you share with your provider can be kept confidential (private). Find out where you can get confidential mental/behavioral health care.


Therapy / Counseling

Counseling/therapy is a process in which a person with mental or emotional concerns talks with another person who is qualified to help. The goal of therapy is to help resolve issues and bring positive changes in feelings and behaviors. Therapy/counseling can be done one-on-one, with a partner, with family members, or in a group.

In New Mexico, when you are 14 years old or older, you can consent (agree) without your parent/guardians’ permission to counseling/therapy.


Medications
In New Mexico, when you are 14 years old or older, you can consent (agree) without your parent/guardians’ permission to some psychotropic (mental health) medications such as Ritalin, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-psychotic medication. However, your mental health care provider must tell your parent/guardians that you are taking this type of medication.


Alcohol and Drug Use Support

In New Mexico, when you are 14 years old or older, you can consent (agree) to alcohol and substance abuse treatment without your parents’ permission. Alcohol and substance abuse treatment helps someone stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and be able to function well at school/work, in their family and in society.


“I live away from home.”

In New Mexico, if you are 14 years old or older and living away from home, you have the right to consent (agree) to all medically necessary healthcare*. But, if your health insurance is under your parents’ name and there is a fee for your treatment, the healthcare provider may refuse to treat you unless you can pay the fee yourself.
* Uniform Healthcare Decisions Act (NMSA §24-7a-6.2A)


“I am a teen parent.”

In New Mexico, if you are 14 years old or older and are pregnant or parenting, you have the right to consent (agree) to all medically necessary health care for you and your child.


Confidentiality:

Confidentiality is the legal term for when information must be kept private. In some cases, health care providers will have to talk to your parents, even when you can consent to care on your own (this means your care is NOT confidential). But in other cases, health care providers cannot give your parents confidential information about your health care without your permission. Be sure to ask about your health care provider about confidentiality before you get care.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:

  • Will the insurance or Medicaid bill that gets sent to my parents show what kind of care, exams or tests I had?
  • Are you going to discuss my exam with my parents?
  • How will you contact me?
  • Can I consent (agree) to follow up services from you without my parents being involved?
  • What are your policies for reporting abuse and neglect?


Certain mental health medications

Your mental health care provider must tell your parents if you chose to take psychotropic medication such as Ritalin®, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-psychotic medication.


Before your visit

Many health and mental health care providers do not know what the law says about consent and confidentiality for people under age 18. The clinic they work for may have policies that are different from what is stated on this page. It’s always a good idea to ask questions at your visit, no matter where you choose to go for care.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:

  • Will the insurance or Medicaid bill that gets sent to my parents show what kind of exams or tests I had?
  • Can I consent (agree) to services on my own?
  • Are you going to discuss my exam with my parents?
  • How will you contact me?
  • Can I consent (agree) to follow up services from you without my parents being involved?
  • What are your policies for reporting abuse and neglect?

Providers


Mental Health Providers:

Counselors
Case Managers
Social Workers
Therapists
Psychologists
Psychiatrists

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants can also talk with you about your mental health concerns and help with medication. They may also have you visit with one of the providers above for mental health.


Physical health providers:

Doctors
Physicians

Nurse Practitioners

Physician’s Assistants

Places to Go For Care


Sexual Health:


Behavioral Health:

Other Resources

Stay Teen (Sexual Health) – http://stayteen.org/

Teen Source (Sexual Health) – www.teensource.org

KidsHealth – Teen Mental Health – http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/