Will Therapy or a MH Diagnosis Disqualify Someone for Police Work?

Hey all, just a quick question. I had a recent HS graduate come in today for an intake and I’m concerned that seeing me might be a problem for someone hoping to become an LEO. Anyone know?

I’m giving the least dire diagnosis possible (adjustment disorder) but I’m still worried.

It will hurt him if he ever goes to the FBI for sure. Have some experience with that. Is he on meds? That’s what the feds were really interested in when they interviewed everyone about our friend.

I don’t have a definitive answer for you, but I’m guessing he could join the force in rural Alaska.


Is this something you think can be resolved by the time he enters the academy?

College is next, so there’s some time before applying to an academy or job. I don’t really know the kid, this is the first time we’ve met, but I don’t anticipate things to be long term and I didn’t see anything worrisome (crippling anxiety or depression). Mostly just a kid needing to sort through things and gain some perspective and coping skills. But who knows, people sometimes need time to get to what’s bothering them.

I’m going with Adjustment Disorder, Unspecified. This is usually given when someone has had a difficult situation (divorce, death in the family, a move if it’s a kid) and needs some support. I think of it as being mostly used for children.

Another line of work seems extreme given that there’s no raging mental illness present and no medication.

A friend told me about a friend who had a friend that smart ex-soldiers and soldiers pay cash (or a pre-paid debit card), don’t use insurance, and a fake name to get mental health service to avoid problems.

Perhaps a smart wanna-be cop can do the same (assuming no controlled substances are being provided).

To be honest, just avoiding insurance use would probably suffice. People sometimes don’t want employers (or potential future employers) to know about any back problems that could disqualify them for employment. The only requests I’ve ever received for treatment notes in 26 years of practice have come when there was insurance involved or the potential employee specifically told them about me.

Yes, I had a guy come in who absolutely positively did not want a diagnosis, so paid cash. But of course that’s expensive, so he only came once.

Today’s kid is just a kid, and it was me who wondered about the potential for trouble with it. I’ve had to write letters for the Peace Corps and dealt with a couple of other situations where it was problematic. So I worry.

May I just say that it’s ridiculous that people going into these exceptionally stressful fields are made to worry about talking to someone about their worries or uncertainties? The guy who paid cash recently sat here with tears streaming down his face for an hour. Is this who we want doing [high stress/lives dependent] job? Wouldn’t he be better treated? Because these people aren’t NOT experiencing issues, they’re merely hiding them and carrying on.


People in these exceptionally stressful fields of work should be encouraged to seek help, but if they’ve already shown a tendency to react badly to stressful and traumatic situations, it may not go well.
That’s being said, this kids situation doesn’t sound particularly dire, I think you’re absolutely right here, and I think it’d be easy to just group everyone in and tell anyone who walks into your office to stay away from LEO jobs, so I commend you.

Devil’s advocate counter point do you want a police officer who’s working through crippling anxiety, major depression or PTSD from combat responding to your call for help?

Do you want them blunted by SSRI’s as they’re getting their dose dialed in so they can function?

If an accountant, engineer, construction worker etc… has a bad mental health day with their depression and makes mistakes the consequences are small (by comparison).

Cops have to use just the right blend of de-escalation and force (sometimes lethal) in terrible situations. That takes training and a clear head.

1 Like

Sometimes a clear head needs help to assess desire for lethal situations, which ideally happens before one is at the scene, discovering unsuitability for the job. Or just a sounding board to help sift through goals and relationships and family stuff. Most people who see therapists don’t have crippling anything. More than anything I see people trying to recover from bad family situations. Cops should certainly be able to access this freely. There would be less bad cops if they could.

Not arguing the value of human life, but this one is a doozy:


Panic attacks, huh? I’ve had a few of those myself. Never occurred to me that starting a fire would help. :smiling_face:


I agree with you. But now, medical records go up into the Google Cloud and are shared by our government if you do anything with a government. The disclosure is right on the TriCare forms for military.

Again, that friend of a friend has a set of doctors with whom he is completely honest, who know him as a smart guy with a different name and birthday and SSN who has a small company with no insurance, but pays like a slot machine. And a set of doctors who know his real name, birthday, and SSN to whom he blandly lies.

It’s candidly the only prudent thing to do, from their perspective.

And I agree, it’s completely unfortunate.

1 Like

I’ve applied for and been hired by two agencies. I’ve also attended two academies. I was never asked about my mental health in terms of releasing documents or treatment history. I was, however, required to take a psych assessment of like 300 questions that asks a lot of questions over and over with slightly different words. I think it mostly wanted to figure out if I was going to get violent or freak out in certain situations. The test itself actually made me want to get violent LOL!

From my experience, I can’t think of any reason he would be forced to share that information. If his behavior is concerning then it should come up during the background investigation when they talk to friends and family.

Civilians painting the submarine? I thought navy dudes who got into trouble had to paint stuff. Right before the white glove inspection for cleanliness.

Out of curiosity. Are there States in which the hiring process is pretty fast due to lack of applicants?

Okay, that’s helpful, thanks.

You probably did the MMPI:

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory ( MMPI ) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.

I’ve heard it’s unpleasant, and have always wanted to try it. Identifying sociopathy is one of its strong suits, so congratulations on being an official person of empathy!

1 Like

Yep. The ship yards are separate corporate entities from the military and employ civilians. I worked as a contractor on the USS Ronald Regan at Newport News way back when.

The paint chipping and other maintenance operations are done by boatswains mates once it becomes part of the fleet. They will also return to the yard for various refitting operations.