Equality California
2010 Legislation

Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth

Bill Number: SB 543

This bill would permit youth ages 12-17 to consent to mental health treatment without parental permission if the attending professional believes the youth is mature enough to make the decision or if the youth would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self and others without the services. Current parental consent requirements for mental health services create a barrier to treatment that is especially harmful to LGBT youth who may be put at risk of emotional or physical abuse by coming out to their parents prematurely or without support.


Why It Matters

"I fell into depression because it seemed as if there was no one I could turn to when I needed help the most. I’ve tried to commit suicide so many times in the past that I’ve lost count. I’ve tried to hang myself, cut myself and overdose on pills. I’ve even tried to throw myself into traffic."



Status: Introduced on February 27, 2009. Passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 3 to 0 vote May 5, 2009 and passed Senate Appropriations Committe in a 7 to 3 vote May 28, 2009. Passed the Senate Floor in a 22 to 12 vote June 3, 2009, and passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee in a 7 to 3 vote June 30, 2009. Signed by the Governor.


Author: Senator Mark Leno

Co-Sponsored With: National Association of Social Workers – California Chapter, Mental Health America of Northern California, GSA Network



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