I think I want to apply for a federal job- Is there anyway that I can expunge my mental health history?

From ages 14 to 21 I extensively sought mental health treatment for severe anxiety, OCD, and Depression. Also when I was 20 I was 5150.

All I was ever told was that my mental health records were “private” and “confidential”, and that it was illegal for employers to discriminate based on mental health.

I feel like all of these protections go out the window when you apply for a job that is regulated by the government.

Honestly, this makes me very upset and I feel like I was basically lied to.

Is there anyway that I can erase/ expunge my mental health history so that I can try to get a federal job?

Questions about mental health history have changed a lot over the past few years and the emphasis seems to be on any current issues you may be having or undergoing treatment for, as opposed to past issues which have been resolved and no longer a concern.

If a “5150” is some kind of temporary involuntary commitment then very likely police were involved and so that might show up when online checks are conducted… you don’t want them to come up with something you should have reported but did not. Read the questions on the SF-85/86 (depends on the type of investigation) carefully and answer honestly. None of this is an automatic disqualifier but the details may need to be discussed.

So in order to answer your question, I don’t think there is a need to expunge your records. Anyway, federal investigators can often access ‘expunged’ records.


We have a whole statement we read to the subject during the interview reminding them that mental health treatment is not an automatic disqualifier. However, intentionally trying to hide it very much can be. It’s better to just be up front and honest about all of it.