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Ask The Expert: Mental Health Pt.2

In the spirit of National Mental Health Awareness month, we continue to ask those hard-hitting questions regarding mental health and what it looks like to seek out mental health services.

Accessing and starting counseling can be a scary but know that you are not alone! Counseling provides you with a chance to sit down and have someone guide you through your own thoughts and feelings to help you better understand and manage them. Everyone, whether experiencing a mental health issue or not, can receive therapy.

Sharing your mental health journey with someone you trust is a great way to practice communication and connection but know you should never feel pressured to share your experiences. Pediatric resident Jennifer Markwood from the Ybor Youth Clinic is here to answer these important questions. Continue reading to find out how to deal with seeking and receiving mental health counseling as a teen/young adult!


Q: I don’t have insurance; can I still receive mental health services?

A: To start, you can always call 211( Community resources such a food, housing, bills, and mental health etc) or 988 (Suicide and Crisis Lifeline) for help in your time of need and information on community providers. Some providers have sliding scale payments, which is when the amount you owe is based off your income. You can also check out the Florida Department of Health or your state based Department of Health for more information on different insurance programs or medical care

Q: I have insurance but I don’t want my parents to know I’m receiving mental health services.

A. The ability of minors to received treatment without their parents knowledge is state dependent. In Florida, minors over 13 are legally able to access limited outpatient diagnostic and evaluation services, to include some therapies but not medications, in times of crisis to not exceed 2 visits in any 1 week period. Any inpatient treatment/therapies or use of medications requires parental consent. Read more here: 2023 Florida Statues

Q: Do I have to tell my friends I am receiving counseling?

A: Who you tell about your counseling is up to you and is a private matter. If you’re worried about how to tell your friends, you can discuss different ways to bring up the topic with your counselor.

Q. Will receiving counseling go on my permanent record?

A: It is always a good idea to discuss confidentiality concerns with any provider from the start to learn your rights. There are specific circumstances where your information must be shared (by court order, serious threat of harm to yourself or others) but in other scenarios you would sign a form to consent for your information to be released. It is possible that the use of medications, intensive therapy, or diagnostic codes for insurance payment/approvals would go on your medical record, but that information would be protected by HIPPA. You would not be required to share this information with future employers or educational institutions unless directed by law.

Q: How common is Therapy?

A: According to the CDC, 16.8 % of adolescents 12-17 years old received some type of mental health treatment in 2019, and males were slightly more likely than females to have received any mental health treatment or taken medication for mental health. Basically, more common than you think!

Q: Why is there a stigma surrounding mental health and therapy?

A: There are many stigma’s surrounding mental health, created by misunderstandings/misrepresentations of mental illnesses. There is Public stigma (Stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination) and Self-stigma (the internalized, negative forms of above). It can be very difficult to overcome both while trying to improve your mental health. You can read more on stigmas here on a paper from Mayo Clinic and the NIH.


Q: What is the role of genetics in Mental Health? What are some factors that cause psychiatric disorders?

A: Some mental health illnesses (Depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia to name a few) seem to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. But if your family member has a mental illness, this only means you have a higher risk of developing that illness, not that you are guaranteed have it. Other factors such as the environment you’re raised in, psychological stresses or trauma exposure, and substance use can also play a role in developing a mental illness.

Check out the Teen Connect searchable directory and counseling & mental health programs page to find providers near you!

Jennifer Markwood DO Pediatrics PGY-2

Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

Ybor Youth Clinic  - You can learn more information about making an appointment here!  

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