Monday, March 2, 2009

What's State Doing with Question 21?

“Question 21” on Standard Form 86, is the item in the government security-clearance form that specifically asks applicants or employees renewing their clearance whether they have ever received treatment for mental-health issues. Here is DOD on Security Clearance Question 21. What is the State Department doing with Q21? Walter Reed Strives to Remove Stigma from Mental Health Care Military Works to Eliminate Perceived Mental Health Treatment Stigma Leaders Should Step Up, Receive Mental Health Care if Needed DoD Changes Question to Encourage Troops to Ask for Help Gates Announces Change to Security Clearance Question 21

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jc said...

We recently had a visit from the FS Psychologist who told us that people seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress would not have their security clearances affected and that "they" (MED?) was advising such people to answer "no" to the question on the clearance review. How "official" that advice is (we're signing the document, not MED) wasn't clear. (He volunteered the information - relevant to our post - we didn't ask.)

DS said...

JC - that is an excellent point and why I think it is necessary for Secretary Clinton to state this publicly as the SecDef did. What if MED thinks this way, but DS think another way? The employee is the one caught in a bind. If indeed it is not going to affect the security clearance, then that should come clearly from the top, publicly, with encouragement to all FS employees to seek help before its too late -- not just the one coming out of the warzones either.

I hope you're all holding up all right over where you are. I imagine it must be tough. Take care.