Many states, including Washington, allow schools to give out prescriptions to kids over the age of 13 who seek mental health services, without first obtaining approval from a parent.
A dad on TikTok went viral on social media last week after taking to the platform to share some unexpected and upsetting news he received from his child's school. In a video that's been viewed over 277k times, Eli Holt—who goes by @mr.notnew on the video-sharing platform—from Washington State recounted how he was taken aback when the school counselor reached out to inform him that his son had not picked up his antidepressants at the end of the school year. This came out of the blue for Holt as he wasn't aware that his 15-year-old had been prescribed antidepressants by the school psychiatrist months ago.
"I'm going to try to make this short. If you have teenage kids in Washington State, watch this video," Holt says in the clip. "I get a call today from the counselor at the high school of Snohomish, Washington. They proceed to say: 'Your child, 15 years old, did not pick up his antidepressants at the end of the school year.' I said, 'He's not on antidepressants, like what are you talking about? My kid is not depressed.'" The TikTok user revealed that the counselor then proceeded to tell him that his child has been on antidepressants for several months after the school had a psychiatrist come in who prescribed the drugs to the teen.
"I had no knowledge! I knew nothing about it. I knew nothing," Holt says. "Come to find out, it's 100 percent legal. They can do whatever they want with our kids in Washington State in the school program." Many responded to the video by claiming that this law is helpful for kids from troubled backgrounds who might not be able to access the mental health care they need if their parent or legal guardian is informed. "I wish my school did that. Often teenagers don’t want to tell their parents about mental health or birth control. I see this as a good thing," commented one TikTok user.
Holt then posted a follow-up video in response to such comments, in which he said: "Number one, if they're giving a child prescription in your home, you should know, period. Number two, the only time I could see them keeping stuff like that from you is if they believe that there's abuse in the home, sexual abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, any type of abuse, or if they feel the child is in danger. [In that case,] 100%, I would agree with them not telling me."
He then went on to point out the dangers posed by the school not informing parents if their child has been prescribed some medication. "What if I was allowing him to have a glass of wine at home at dinner? Not that I am but what if I was? What if he had a heart murmur? What if he was allergic to medications like that? That kid can barely fill out a job application, how is he going to know all his medical history? How's he gonna know all these things?" Holt asks in the video. "He didn't tell me because I had a really good line of communication with the school, I got the receipts, we were emailing every week because he's on an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan). I was talking to his case manager. He thought 100% I knew and number four, it's not their kid to give a prescription to so I wholeheartedly believe that they should have told me and it is what it is."
Many states, including Washington, allow schools to give out prescriptions to any youngster over the age of 13 who is seeking treatment for mental health services without first obtaining approval from a parent. According to the law, students "may initiate an evaluation and treatment for outpatient and/or inpatient mental health services, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, or withdrawal management without parental consent."
Cover Image Source: TikTok/mr.notnew