To get—and to keep—a U.S. government security clearance means completing a long form detailing your personal history. There are many intrusive questions, but Question 21 is the one that keeps many soldiers from asking for help:
"In the last 7 years, have you consulted with a health care professional regarding an emotional or mental health condition or were you hospitalized for such a condition? If you answered ‘Yes,’ provide the dates of treatment and the name and address of the therapist or doctor below."
My security clearance had been granted years before, but every five years, everyone who has a clearance has to go through the investigation process again to renew it. If I went into treatment, I would have to answer "Yes" to Question 21 next time on the form. Answering "Yes" would cost me my clearance. Losing my clearance would cost me my job.
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Back From The Brink: War, Suicide, And PTSD