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Just diagnosed. Worried about security clearance...


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well, I had my pdoc appointment the other day. I like the guy very much, he listens very well and seems very patient. After many questions and nearly an hour he stated that I had a textbook case of untreated BP, although to what extent and how severe remains to be determined. Also up in the air are treatment options. Definitely not BP 1 though. Anyway, I will probably seek a 2nd opinion in the near future once I work with the pdoc some more.

Question: anyone know about the procedures for notifying the DoD about a security clearance? I hold a secret clearance and will need to tell them I've sought out mental health treatment, although they contact the doc for details or something. Losing it would not be job ending, although it would cause a lot of uncomfortable questions at the company from coworkers...

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I would tread carefully. I don't know the answer to your question but I do have a bipolar friend who lost his security clearance, hired an attorney, fought it and got his clearance back. It was a rough experience. very high stress very expensive Someone will come along who knows more about this. But he had mania, some wild mania with sexual acting out that came to the attention of a regulatory agency.

One thought, a pdoc who has seen you once or twice or thrice does not know enough about you to testify about your illness and your job requirements. He hardly knows you. So I would take your time investigating this thoroughly.

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Question: anyone know about the procedures for notifying the DoD about a security clearance? I hold a secret clearance and will need to tell them I've sought out mental health treatment, although they contact the doc for details or something. Losing it would not be job ending, although it would cause a lot of uncomfortable questions at the company from coworkers...

If there's a regulation requiring you to notify your employer regarding mental treatment, you will always be better off in the long run if they find this out from you. It shows you are in control of the situation enough to comply with security procedures, and makes you far less of a blackmail target. Security folks tend to believe in notification beforehand, not forgiveness afterwards.

That said, I agree with bpladybug that you don't want to rush in until the diagnosis is firm, the treatment is showing results, and the doctor has enough of a case file to affirm that in his opinion you do not pose an additional security risk (everyone, even the "sane" ones, pose some sort of risk.)

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If you need to notify, do so immediately, not at some indetermined time in the future. Let them know that the doc is working out a full dx picutre for you and a tx plan and I imagine there will be something set in place.

I would not sit on this one, but that's me. I am required to notify my SW board that I am BP and get letters from my doc and I most certainly do so with alacrity, although it can be a pain and feel unfair since I've never had a sanction.

I know a lot of people with a lot of weird conditions who haven't lost clearances because their behaviors have been perfectly under control. That's more what they will be interested in, most likely.

Anna

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DoD will want documentation from your pdoc that your are on medication and stable. A former admin here went through the process of getting security clearance with BP. Her pdoc just had to fill out some paperwork and that's all there was to it.

If you say anything stress the fact that you're getting help and on medication. MI in remission they don't give a shit about. Untreated MI could be a liability.

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Since you have a DoD security clearance, I'm going to guess you're at a fairly large company, at least large enough to have a human resources department. I recommend going directly to them and not to your boss, or coworkers, even those who may seem sypathetic. Although I didn't get a clearance myself, I have worked in the past, and currently work on, the periphery of places that require clearances, and my experience is that in those types of conservative organizations, any type of MI carries a larger than usual stigma. There's no need for your boss or coworkers to know any of your medical history or current treatment.

I lost a really good job once because I was sure everyone would understand and treat me the same as always, and I would be a soldier in the fight to make MI acceptable. I ended up losing my job and going into a bad depressive episode, eventually being out of work long enough to go bankrupt, etc., and I learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut, since I am still in a very conservative science/engineering field.

As others have pointed out, I would definitely contact HR or whoever deals with your security clearance ASAP. Not telling will cause you a lot more problems. I did some research a few years ago on getting a security clearance with MI and the consensus was that as long as it was treated and contolled, it was okay. However, I didn't actually apply for that particular job so don't have personal experience with getting one.

Glad you're going to get treatment, stability is a wonderful thing. Good luck to you.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi,

Just curious how this turned out. I've recently found myself in a similar situation and am trying to sort out my options. My security person knows I'm seeing some doctors, but my diagnosis (BP II) is relatively recent (less than 2 months) and I've only just started accepting it myself. I would like to minimize the number of people that know about this, but I work in a very small group (<10 people) and am worried about whether or not this is possible. I am getting ready for a PR, submitting my SF86 in the next week or two with my doctors listed, and am wondering if I should just let it play itself out there.

Thanks!

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Hi,

Just curious how this turned out. I've recently found myself in a similar situation and am trying to sort out my options. My security person knows I'm seeing some doctors, but my diagnosis (BP II) is relatively recent (less than 2 months) and I've only just started accepting it myself. I would like to minimize the number of people that know about this, but I work in a very small group (<10 people) and am worried about whether or not this is possible. I am getting ready for a PR, submitting my SF86 in the next week or two with my doctors listed, and am wondering if I should just let it play itself out there.

Thanks!

I would think that Privacy Act requirements would keep this from becoming general knowledge. If I read the following info correctly, all you provide on the form is the doctor contact info, and then the investigator follows up, so no one (like your boss or an admin) who looks at the form will find out the nature of your illness. Also this article had some good and reassuring info on how the process goes down. It's not an official site but it does list reference docs so you can verify things:

Security clearance

If I were you I would call my docs as a courtesy and let them know to expect a call for your clearance, if you haven't already.

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My therapist told me he had numerous patients with clearances. The DSS agents visit him in person and ask "Do you have any reservations or concerns about Mr. XXX having a national security clearance?". In nearly all circumstances the therapist says "No". The agents thank him and leave. They do not demand to see charts or have copies.

In the few times he said "Yes", the agents asked questions pertaining specifically to his concerns and didn't seem to be on a fishing expedition.

I had one supervisor who was MI with depression, who had a security clearance.

a.m.

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Catnapper/AirMarshall,

Thanks for the responses. I kind of suspected that's how it goes, but it does add just a tiny bit of uncertainty that bugs me a bit (I'd be SOL on the off chance my clearance doesn't get renewed). Also, do either of you know if they set the bar any higher as the clearance goes up?

I actually told my tdoc about this last week (he was a bit taken aback... his first time evidently). I'll be telling the pdoc this week.

And I've started a low-key search for a new job, just in-case. My wife and I have been considering it for several months. I actually had 4 explicit reasons for doing so. This concern was one of them, but it was the least important of the 4.

BTW, Catnapper, would you mind reposting that link. I seem to not be going to the correct page.

Cheers!

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I've never seen anything in writing but I would bet that the standards are much higher (like possibly excluding any mental illness) for say the PRP, Personnel Reliability Program for access to nuclear weapons, or a Yankee White for White House access. ;)

It's out of your hands. Whatever happens, it is better to have the dx, be taking meds and living a safer happier life, even if you have to change jobs and line of work.

Good luck!

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