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Security Clearance And Depression

Question:

I am currently employed at a government contractor in which a top secret security clearance is mandatory. I have no issues with getting the clearance except one: I have in the past have had problems with depression and currently am seeking help to prevent a relapse. I am also taking prescription medication as ordered. I am TERRIFIED that my problems in the past will come back to haunt me. I was able to obtain a Secret clearance in 1997 with no problems. I have never did drugs, committed a felony, declared bankruptcy or have ever betrayed my country in any way. This may not be your area of expertise but I need to know; Will I be denied a clearance?

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Answer:

I don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t have the right clearance (grin!). But, all kidding aside, it would seem quite unfair for you to be denied the ability to serve based on your having a well researched chronic illness for which you are receiving responsible preventative treatment. I would hope that they would not hold this against you. Depression is nothing to be ashamed about. Depression is a treatable illness. It is not a ‘weakness’ any more than having a chronic health problem such as diabetes is a weakness.

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Comments
  • TJ

    I personally would say they (the government) would deny anything above secret (maybe top secret) if your depression episodes were serious, as clearances above TS are called SCI with numerous levels and the need to know. They (the government) like to know (assume), in a worse case sceniero, what would happen, if you happened to break down again, knowing what you may have access to and the sensitivity of the information at your finger tips if you were to relapse.

    Just my opinion as I did have a Top Secret SCI clearance at one time and did go through the whole meal deal to get it.

    TJ

  • David

    You will most likely be denied anything above a secret clearance if yuo have a history of depression. I currently have a TS/SCI and had to wait 7 years since my last "therapy". I am scared to go back because I would lose my clearance and job.

  • Boole

    I have schitzophrenia but it's been handled for many years with medicine, and have been clean and sober for many years as well. I currently have a Secret clearance which took over a year to get. I am now looking for a new position, and I see that there are a lot of jobs for TS/SCI cleared people. I too am wondering if my disease would prevent me from getting the clearance, and at worst they would take away my Secret clearance. What do you think?

  • Bill

    To those simply say "deal with it" or "depression is nothing to be ashamed of" are missing the point: Your job requires that you maintain your clearance. I know im my case, failure to keep my TS/SCI would result in about a 40-50% decrease in my wages. This would result in a direct negative impact in my family's standard of living.

    So, I deal with it in numerous way that do not result in a paper trail. Is this the "best way"? No. But at least my family won't suffer.

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