Talking about difficult thoughts, feelings or experiences is not always easy – especially if you are worried about who else might find out about what you have said.
Health professionals provide a confidential space for you to talk about what is on your mind and how you feel.
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The legal stuff

Health professionals are legally required to maintain your confidentiality unless:

  • you give permission for the information to be shared with others
  • you are at risk of hurting yourself or others
  • they need to talk with another health professional about your care
  • they are required to by a court of law.

When you first meet with your health professional, they will talk with you about confidentiality to make sure you fully understand your rights. If they don’t begin by explaining this, ask them to explain it to you. 

Involving your parents

When you are under 16 years of age, sometimes a health professional will want to talk with you about involving your parents in your treatment. This does not mean that your health professional will tell your parents about the details of your conversations, but they might feel it is helpful for them to know a bit more about what is happening and how they can help you.

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If you are under 14 years of age – your parents can review their Medicare claims history to see what services you have used. This does not provide any detail about the reason of your visit or the content of your session.

If you are older than 14 years of age – your parents can review their Medicare claims history to see what services you have used and when, but it does not show bulk billing claims or any details of the service.

If you are 15 or older – you can have your own Medicare card. Having your own card means that the information about your use of Medicare services (health services) remains confidential. Your parents are not able to review your contact with health services.

Who else can I talk to?

Your family doctor won’t tell your parents or other family members that you've been to see him or her, but it may be easier to open up to someone you don’t know. It’s OK to find another GP to talk to. You can find a doctor in your area via Health Direct.

If you don’t feel you’re ready to speak to anyone face-to-face, or if you need support straight away, telephone counsellors are available any time for the cost of a local call (from landlines) – and if you like the counsellor you spoke to, you can talk to the same person again, as many times as you want.