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Public Statements

Blackburn Commends DoD Decision to Permit Mental Health Counseling

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Blackburn Commends DoD Decision To Permit Mental Health Counseling
Service Members Can Now Seek Care Without Risking Their Security Clearance

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) today commended Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for taking action to remove the risk service members perceive when they pursue mental health counseling. Congressman Blackburn was notified by Secretary Gates' office today of his intent to amend the mental health related section on the standard questionnaire all DoD employees submit when applying for a security clearance. Known as "Question 21" the amended mental health care question will appear on the new clearance form this summer or early fall.

"Seeking mental health counseling when you need it is not a sign of weakness and should not jeopardize the careers of military personnel who recognize that they may need some help. The old security clearance questions were a hold over from an era when mental health, and the toll that combat can have on a soldier, were less understood. I applaud Secretary Gates for his initiative to tear down the artificial barrier between soldiers and the help they may need."

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