Since Vashon Natural Medicine started in 1998, we have been honored to work with hundreds of teenagers to help them navigate health challenges as they mature. While it is a parent's goal to have a good relationship with their children that will help them navigate the teen years, all families and situations are different. As children grow up, they encounter many issues that challenge them. Despite the best intentions, teens do not always feel comfortable talking to their parents. Sometimes this is because of fear of judgement, or even abuse - but under specific age conditions, Washington State law allows teenagers to seek outside guidance on their own.
At Vashon Natural Medicine, we ask teens to sign releases that allow us to speak with parents when they come into our office for care. However in Washington state, if a teenager asks their medical provider for help, state law gives them protection through confidentiality. This means a doctor cannot speak with the parent or guardian without the teen's permission. It is a highly effective law that has worked well for prevention, and is even implemented in many Washington high schools. King County has a Best Starts for Kids initiative which provides on-campus health clinics in public schools to provide mental and reproductive health care services to teenagers when they need it, without fear of judgement.
At Vashon Natural Medicine, our goal as practitioners is to spend time with our patients, and only after assessing each individual's situation do we make a determination on treatment. This is true for our teenage patients as well. Is it a situational depression from a parent's divorce or death of a loved one? Anxiety from homework and finals? Panic attacks from being in an abusive relationship? Distress over sexual identity? All aspects of a patient's life are taken into consideration before any treatment is given.
Vashon Natural Medicine providers start with counseling, diet and exercise, nutritional status and identifying barriers to health. Further treatment may include botanical medicine, nutritional supplements, and even prescription medication depending on the situation. Only when a patient has been fully evaluated do we provide treatment, and always with guidance and follow up.
The providers at Vashon Natural Medicine believe in treating the cause of disease, that prevention is the best medicine, and in using the least invasive and most natural treatments possible. Our job is to educate our patients and empower them to heal and care for themselves. And sometimes that process requires confidentiality.