Mental Health and Security Clearances

Companies that provide products and services to the government typically require a high-level of security as the projects, programs and work is classified or restricted.  Employees are hired to work on these areas with a security clearance, which allows them to access sensitive information and complete work that’s identified as national security sensitive.

The implications of COVID-19 have shown a significant increase in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression worldwide. Given the rigorous investigation required to obtain a clearance, mental health concerns are often silenced or undisclosed out of fear of losing that clearance. But prioritizing your mental health through appropriate care will not disqualify you for security clearance.

Obtaining or Maintaining Your Security Clearance

All security clearances require an initial background investigation, reinvestigations as needed and continuous evaluations of the person holding or planning to hold this status. The standard process is to obtain personal and professional information through the Questionnaire for National Security Positions or Standard Form 86.

As part of the questionnaire, you’ll be asked several questions regarding emotional health. These questions aim to identify if you’re incapable or unable to fulfill job responsibilities or have impacted judgement, reliability or trustworthiness. Answering yes to any of these questions is not a reason on its own to revoke or deny eligibility for access to classified information or for holding a sensitive position. You’ll be contacted to gather more information about the seriousness and symptoms of your condition and any course of treatment. Issues of potential concern include the following:

If you’re experiencing any of the mental health concerns listed above and actively hold a security clearance, you’re required to report this new information to your security manager for further review.

Please keep in mind that there are national security professionals that have proven they can work effectively with treatment, even for the concerns listed above. Transparency about seeking or receiving mental health care for your personal wellness and recovery may lead to favorable decisions about eligibility and shows your integrity and trustworthiness.

In summary, just because you hold or plan to hold a security clearance doesn’t mean that you can’t seek mental health counseling or care for your emotional health. If you or someone you know may be struggling with mental health, we encourage you to explore our resources, programs and tools .

For more information about seeking mental health services and security clearances, review the below resources:



Article by: Mackenzie Reulein

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