SF-86 Q21: Grieving to hospitalization

I’m interested in applying for an internship that requires an SF-86. About 6 years ago, I sought mental health treatment while grieving over a break-up followed by the death of a close friend. I checked myself into a mental health hospital; I was deeply struggling back then and didn’t know what to do.

I feel I should mention this on the SF-86, but I’m also thinking “why go through the stress of applying if I’ll be denied a TS/SCI because I was hospitalized for mental health treatment?”

Am I S.O.L in this situation?


You should mention it, because it is a question on the form that you need to answer honestly. It is not at all a cause for denial.

Just answer the questions as best as you can.
To me, it looks like isolated external events leading to mental health issues, you sought treatment by yourself, it was a while ago. Shouldn’t be a problem…

Depending on the SF86 version you fill in:
In the last seven (7) years, have you consulted with a health care professional regarding an emotional or mental health condition or were you hospitalized for such a condition? Answer ‘No’ if the counseling was for any of the following reasons and was not court-ordered:

  • strictly marital, family, grief not related to violence by you; or
  • strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment
    Please respond to this question with the following additional instruction: Victims of sexual assault who have consulted with the health care professional regarding an emotional or mental health condition during this period strictly in relation to the sexual assault are instructed to answer No

If you feel like you are in some of the situations listed, you could answer no.
If so, I’d probably still add a short comment that you shought treatment because XYZ (so that they don’t think you are trying to hide that fact…).

Speak to it boldly. Bravo to you for getting help when drowning. I support anyone seeking help when having difficulty coping with life. During an incredibly painful divorce that came from out of the blue…I walked that path. I struggled and fell apart at work, made bad decisions I regret in taking someone else’s Prozac. But it helped…went to Doc, got my own meds and dealt with it. Years later had to speak to this during a polygraph. Want to talk scared? But it truly was a once in a lifetime, unlikely to repeat itself situation. I healed, and will never again make the wrong decision to take meds of another. You took care of your emotional needs and health. You are still with us. Bravo! Don’t fear a clearance check. Speak boldly to it.


This is no reason to abandon your attempts at applying. Many people have mental health treatment and even hospitalizations that complete the process just fine.

The key is to be open and honest about it, and to make sure you read every single question carefully so as to not omit any information.

The information rocket listed pertains to the older version of the SF-86. That version of the form is not used nearly as much as the newer version. The newer version does not have the line that excludes treatment due to grief.

You’ll mark that yes, you’ve been hospitalized. And include all the details required.

Also make sure to carefully read the other questions in that section. Especially the question about being diagnosed with any of the listed diagnoses. I see people mess that up constantly. They think that because they listed the hospitalization, they’re finished.

It sounds like yours is a pretty straight forward situation, but just be sure to double check. You’ll be able to mark that it was a voluntary admission and provide all the details of the treatment. And you’ll go through it with your investigator during the interview.

Definitely not SOL.