Disclose Mental Healthcare Treatment When Not Required

Many years ago, I had some mental health challenges. Years later, I applied, and eventually was granted TS/SCI access. During the clearance process, multiple people (field investigators, FSOs, etc) raised concerns that I never sought professional treatment. But regardless, the clearance was eventually granted.

I took their concerns to heart, and combined with some gentle prodding from my significant-other, I eventually started therapy. I’m super-glad I did, and it has helped immensely. (For those debating if therapy can help, YES, it really does help!!)

My 5-year cycle has hit and I need to update my SF-86. Going through the mental health questions, the answer is “no” to all of them. Nothing in my past, nor in my current treatment meets the criteria of a Yes.

Should I still voluntarily disclose my treatment? As far as the government knows, I had an issue many years ago, that I never sought treatment for; and it was definitely counted against me during adjudication. That’s not accurate anymore. Should I “correct the record” when I update the SF-86; or should I just let it go, since it didn’t block my clearance last time? Wouldn’t any future adjudication be helped if they knew that I did eventually receive treatment?

I’ve long heard the classic advice of not volunteering information that’s not asked; so I’m torn how to handle this.

If it doesn’t meet the criteria of being listed, please dear god don’t list it. This applies to all questions on the form.


Seconded. Don’t do it, you will be so mad at yourself later.

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Investigator here. As others have said, don’t list it as it is not required. In 2016 the SF86 was changed and the question of whether or not you have ever sought mental health counseling or treatment was eliminated. So don’t answer questions that aren’t there. Details on the reasoning here:

While your intentions are pure, disclosing mental health counseling fits in the same category as being gay or Muslim - it’s a fact that is private and not of adjudicative significance but may be held against you by people in the system who are biased against people who have one of those characteristics.

Caveat: if you’re directly asked by an investigator if you’ve seen a therapist of course answer truthfully even though that investigator is going off the reservation. Always tell the truth.


I don’t quite agree with this statement. An investigator cannot just go off on their own line of questioning. Only certain topics can be discussed. For the investigator to be able to ask questions the information HAS to either be required on the security questionnaire OR disclosed by another source and the investigator is now “confronting” with the information and giving an opportunity to discuss… the investigator cannot just dig around for information. If the investigator asks questions that are not relevant, I would ask the investigator the reason for the question since it is not required to be listed. I would decline to answer a question that is not related to the required or developed information. If you do this the investigator will either leave it out of the report since they were not supposed to ask anyway and they want to save face OR they will report that you declined to answer but when this is done they have to report the SPECIFIC question you declined to answer and the reason why you declined to answer… in this case, the investigator would report the unauthorized questioning and the reader will see you were asked unauthorized questions. The government is very specific on what we are allowed to ask when it comes to mental health and we are not to stray from that specific line of questioning.