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Can mental health impact security clearance?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Military Security Clearance Defense |

Security clearance in the military is a respected designation. Not everyone will receive it, and those who do must meet high standards.

Some circumstances could make you ineligible to receive clearance. You may wonder if a mental health problem could lead to losing your military security clearance. The answer is not straightforward because it depends on the circumstances.

Getting help is not bad

Seeking mental health care alone will not disqualify you. If you talk to a counselor or see a therapist as a way to improve your mental health or prevent issues, it is a positive mark on your record. Having it in your background will not cause you issues in most cases.

The military does not automatically disqualify anyone due to seeking treatment. The situation and circumstances largely weigh into whether something would impact your clearance.

Answering yes to Section 21

When you apply for security clearance, it is a process. You have to fill out a lot of paperwork, including Section 21 of the SF-86. This question covers your mental health and asked if you have ever received treatment. A positive answer will not immediately cause issues. During the investigation of your application, officials can seek more information by getting current mental health records and ensuring that your mental health situation now would not impact your ability to perform sensitive duties.

Being honest

There are some situations that could hinder your ability to get clearance or maintain your clearance, such as a court order of mental incompetence, but lying on the application is a huge red flag. You need to be completely honest because many times, officials will look at your situation and not feel it should hold you back from gaining or keeping security clearance.