Can I still receive a security clearance with mental health issues?

After getting absolutely nowhere with my humanities degree I have decided to try and get into the Cybersecurity field. I have been doing lots of self-study and have completed 2 rigorous online bootcamps. Unfortunately, it seems that many jobs in this discipline require a security clearance, and I have a lengthy mental health history, including:

a) Severe anxiety and anxiety attacks
b) OCD
c) Moderate Depression
d) When I was in college 5 years ago I had a severe panic attack and stupidly threatened suicide. My friend called the cops who took me to the ER, where I just apologized. I was let go without being “hospitalized”, but there is definitely a police report of this.

Would it still be possible to receive a clearance?

I am actually curious about this topic as well. I would like to read what people say on this.

1 Like

Mental health issues are not a reason for automatic disqualification. In fact, the wording of the question on the SF-86/eQIP has changed quite a bit over the years.

The investigator may ask you to fill out release forms allowing them to contact mental health providers you have seen. If you are applying for a direct hire position with an IC agency the hiring process includes a psych eval (questionnaire and interview) for all applicants.

Most agencies now make it clear that seeking mental health treatment is not a reason to lose your clearance. They don’t want to discourage people from getting help if they need it.


Okay sounds good.

I’m just concerned that the involuntary police involvement will prevent me from getting cleared.

Probably not a serious concern. The investigator may want details regarding the incident so anything you can provide regarding the date, location, etc may be helpful.

I’m not an investigator but I suspect that even though the investigator may need to collect a lot of information about the events, that does not mean it will be a major concern. The investigator just needs to collect all the details for a complete report.


Thank you for your thorough response.

Do you think it makes any difference at all that I was not considered “hospitalized”?

the quote marks cause concern. You were seen and released at the ER or were you kept over night for observation/evaluation?

1 Like

I dont think it would make too much of a difference because even if you had been admitted, it would not necessarily be a disqualifier.

If there were a continuing pattern, if you did not comply with requirements to seek treatment, and especially if they found additional incidents that you did not report, then there would be a serious problem.

Nobody on this discussion group can say for sure if any person will or will not be granted a security clearance; but I can say that I have met at least two people who had been placed under a temporary hold (up to 72 hours I think) and still managed to get cleared. Note that some time had passed between those events and the time they were being investigated.

1 Like

I was only seen in the ER.

Will background investigators be able to see the 5150 without my permission during the background investigation?

I’m not planning on lying, I just want to know if my potential employer will hear some third party account prior to me giving my statement.

I hope not. You would think only certain information would be used. The government always talks about mental issues. But that don’t mean anything because they are never consistent. Praying for positive results

1 Like

Investigators cannot give out information about you. They can only ask questions. So they cannot inform your employer about anything. Now where the report goes after it leaves the investigator, I have no idea. (Coming from an investigator)

During your process you signed multiple releases allowing the investigator and the granting agency permission to request and review all of your information. It’s part of the process.

Honestly I think it’s a crack-up how entities like HIPAA and ADA don’t really apply to the government sector. My whole life I was told that seeking/ receiving mental health care was a good thing; now I’m not so sure.

Sure, but is the 5150 part of that release for certain?

The release is used to obtain records and information from a multitude of agencies. It is something you sign stating that you allow the agencies to release your personal information. If the agency /state/county/ that issued your 5150 honors the release the record of the 5150 will most likely be attempted to be obtained.

None of what you have described sounds like it makes you a risk to not be trusted. I don’t think any of this would prevent you getting a clearance.

Even the involuntary mental health care?

Remember that I am just offering an opinion. I have nothing to support my opinion other than logic. To me, the question is whether or not your mental health issue makes you less trustworthy.

1 Like

Okay, sounds good :slight_smile: