Can My Mental Health Disqualify Me from Holding a Security Clearance?

  • Guideline I: Psychological Conditions

Published: January 5, 2022

When the government grants someone a security clearance, they are demonstrating a tremendous amount of trust in that individual. The government must know that one has sound judgement and can be reliable in the workplace, especially when handling sensitive or classified information. It is hard to disagree with this requirement.

With that being said, nobody is perfect. Many individuals have certain diagnoses or mental health conditions that have symptoms that may not align precisely with the ideal clearance holder. As many understand, just because you are diagnosed with a certain condition, it does not mean you are not able to manage the condition. If you are asked to be psychologically evaluated by a government psychologist or mental health professional, then they are likely looking to see if: (1) you have a mental health condition and (2) if that condition makes you less reliable or trustworthy in the context of national security. It is often more beneficial to obtain your own evaluation from a trusted expert with experience in the field. Your attorney can refer you to a trusted expert.

Guideline I of the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines addresses Psychological Conditions and the potential concerns they pose for clearance holders. An individual’s emotional, mental, or personal disorder may pose some sort of threat to their social and occupational function, which in turn could raise a security concern and lead to the revocation, denial or suspension of an individual’s security clearance. Some common examples of disorders that may lead to government concerns include bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other adjustment disorders.

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