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Personal Mental Health Issue

I am not a graduate of my nursing program yet, however, I was wondering when applying for jobs after, if they do mental health background checks. I have been thinking about seeking a therapist for depression and anxiety, but feel as if it would hinder my opportunity to find a job?? Does anyone have knowledge about this?

I was clinically diagnosed with both about 6 years ago, after I graduated high school, but the symptoms were there about 7 years prior to that. I took medication for a few weeks, but had bad reactions (tremors, palpitations, etc), completely stopped taking it, and never talked about it again, until now..

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Your medical history is private and confidential. How would they find out unless you told them? No prospective employer can access your medical records.

Please go and get the help you need. Your mental health is very important. I know I had issues that developed in nursing school and with the help of a counselor and medication I was able to finish. Remember HIPAA applies to everyone.

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

Go take care of your self!

Background checks are generally checking for criminal activity or if you are an excluded individual from working at a medicare funded organization, which I'm willing to bet you aren't on.

illness affecting CVS, endocrine system, brain chemistry; doesn't matter as long as you can do the job

Get some therapy, talk to a psychiatrist or APN about medications if indicated. There have been advances in medication in the past 7 years, and just because one medication didn't work for you doesn't mean there aren't other good options for you.

best of luck, your life is in your hands!

No employer can legally ask about your mental health background, except for a very few public employers dealing with public safety or involving govt security clearances, and even then the scope of inquiry is extremely limited.

In NY they actually ask you if you have a disability (including things like depression, anxiety and even diabetes) when you apply to jobs but you don't have to answer.

As for background checks, in some states you can see if someone has been admitted to an institution by law (in California it is called a 51-50). Each state has different laws regarding this but it only applies to people who were placed in an institution by police, a physician, nurse etc.

As for your medical records, your employer cannot see these and is not legally allowed to get access to them. The closest they can come to that is requiring you to go to a physical and you can choose what you disclose.

If you feel like you want to see someone, definitely do it! Don't worry about it being on your medical history. Rest assured employers cannot see it but also know that depression and anxiety are so amazingly common and nothing to be ashamed of. Getting help can allow a tremendous burden to be lifted off your shoulders and can even make you a much better, healthier nurse :)

Good luck!!

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