Before you seek any treatment for mental health read this

Leidos released a report recently called Mental Health Stigma and the U.S. Security Clearance Review Process (PDF-Mental-Health-Security-Clearance-Whitepaper.pdf). The researchers at Leidos, like everywhere else in the IC, fundamentally misunderstand why the stigma against mental health exists and dismiss it as a “misconception” that should be corrected with what they think is the true. The stigma exists for a reason. Throughout the IC, employees witness counterexamples to this narrative. Allow me to share my story which is one of these counterexamples.

I was experiencing depression, so I did what the yearly mandatory trainings said to do. I believed the line that “seeking help was a sign of strength”. Boy was I wrong. I have spent the previous year without access awaiting clearance adjudication. And this is fundamentally what many throughout the IC fail to understand because they use words like “denial” and “revocation” when they look at this problem. I am sure I will prevail…eventually. That is not the problem. The problem is being stuck in a rubber room indefinitely, being useless for the organization, and having to justify why you were depressed and went to treatment. Do you think I was more depressed before or after I went to treatment?

The IC is simply not serious about correcting the stigma. If they were, the solution is simple. Remove mental health completely from the adjudication criteria. Let doctors treat patients with full confidentiality. Allow your clearance holders to seek treatment in a safe place without any fear that doing so will make their situation worse. If someone has a psychiatric disorder which causes them to break laws, cause security violations, or otherwise do things that are not trustworthy and reliable, simply look at those actions, not their medical history.

Until then, all I can do is tell my story so that people avoid the same fate. In a time when the IC is having difficulties with recruitment and retention, I will be warning everyone to stay away and get employment elsewhere.

DSCA Investigators, Reviewers and Adjudicators: I honestly want to know. Do you have any appreciation for the effect on people’s lives your job has?

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Investigators have no control over this issue at all. I myself have gone without treatment because I know the hassle it will bring to my clearance. Investigators literally have charts telling us what coverage is required for what issues and we have to get exactly what is required, no more and no less. We are NOT to over work a case and it will be sent back to us if we do not obtain ALL required coverage. We are not the ones making these decisions, it is above our pay grade.

Thank you for your response. If I might ask, what exactly is meant by “coverage”?

Coverage means what we as investigators have to get, so a record or a source interview