Will a history of mental illness as a minor keep me from getting a job?

coadchr1

Forum Ride Along
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When I was 13 I was "depressed." I don't think I was depressed I was just confused about life. Anyways they thought I was a threat to myself and put me into a hospital 2 separate times. They also put me on medication for about 2 months. 5 years later I want to be a part of public safety. I just want to know if this will affect me. I'm 18 now and am absolutely better. I have just passed my firefighter 1 certification and will be going for my EMT-b this fall. Any answers would be great as I'm pretty worried about it, thanks!
 

burnsmh

Forum Crew Member
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When I was 13 I was "depressed." I don't think I was depressed I was just confused about life. Anyways they thought I was a threat to myself and put me into a hospital 2 separate times. They also put me on medication for about 2 months. 5 years later I want to be a part of public safety. I just want to know if this will affect me. I'm 18 now and am absolutely better. I have just passed my firefighter 1 certification and will be going for my EMT-b this fall. Any answers would be great as I'm pretty worried about it, thanks!

It shouldn't. Being that young it shouldn't disqualify you for anything but Military service.

I tried to enlist out of High School but I have a history of PTSD and Depression/suside attempts due to severe past physical abuse. It doesn't disqualify me from being a cop, EMT or FF but I can't enlist in any branch of the military since it is on my medical history. I checked.
 

NJEMT95

Forum Lieutenant
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Many EMS agencies & FDs will have you and/or your doctor fill out a medical form. I have a similar history but was able to fill out the forms in such a way to avoid any issues.
If you do the forms yourself, think about whether your mental health history is relevant to include since it was when you were a kid. If you do include it, add a note emphasizing it is a past issue from years ago.
If you doctor fills out the forms, discuss with them what they will include.
 

Chewy20

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When I was 13 I was "depressed." I don't think I was depressed I was just confused about life. Anyways they thought I was a threat to myself and put me into a hospital 2 separate times. They also put me on medication for about 2 months. 5 years later I want to be a part of public safety. I just want to know if this will affect me. I'm 18 now and am absolutely better. I have just passed my firefighter 1 certification and will be going for my EMT-b this fall. Any answers would be great as I'm pretty worried about it, thanks!

A lot of public agencies will put you through psych exams and then have an interview with a psych doctor to make sure you are a good fit for their open spots. You should be fine, don't see it ever coming up in a private company (from what I have seen.)
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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You should have no problem with most private services and most public agencies. Most don't ask, and few care about your pediatric psychiatric history. If you don't volunteer the information they'll likely have no idea.

Some highly selective public agencies may require psychiatric exams and/or polygraph testing. It may come up then. Don't sweat it.
 

Handsome Robb

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I know Alaska has issues with mental health history and licensing. That's the only state I'm aware of though and frankly it makes me sick to hear it.
 

wanderingmedic

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I know Alaska has issues with mental health history and licensing. That's the only state I'm aware of though and frankly it makes me sick to hear it.

Is there a list states that discriminate based upon mental health history? If not, does anyone want to help put together a list? It is sad how stigmatized mental illness still is.
 

Chewy20

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Is there a list states that discriminate based upon mental health history? If not, does anyone want to help put together a list? It is sad how stigmatized mental illness still is.

The way our doc put it is "we just want to make sure the stresses and scenarios of the job will not trigger your past." Makes sense to me, but I don't see the OP being denied any job due to this if he shows he has moved on. If a doc comes into play, its his ultimate decision. They want to hire you, they just need to make sure they are looking out for your best and the companies best interest.
 

rmena

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I got my bachelors in psychology and I will tell you that everyfreakingone has ADHD and Depression. Those are the most thrown around diagnosis EVER! just because a doctor once upon a time slapped that on you doesnt mean anything. In fact even for military service if you list it what they will do is ask you if you have taken any meds for it in the last year..if no..they will hand you a psych eval. and if you aren't like dibilitatingly depressed you will see the business end of an AK just as soon as the kids that were too poor to get diagnosed.
 

OnceAnEMT

Forum Asst. Chief
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I believe you will be perfectly fine with getting through any hiring processes. Not only was it a long time ago, but you were a minor and treated as a minor. My only recommendation is to keep your story straight, and don't lie about it. You're saying that is far behind you now, and you've moved on in your life to something you love. Show that to those that are hiring you, if you even bring it up. Prove to them its behind you.

I say keep your story straight because I know at least ATCEMS will have prospects do a behavioral/personality questionnaire, then asks similar indirect questions in a verbal psych exam, and compares the answers and grills discrepancies.
 
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