This week a reader asks:
If a clinician answers ‘no’ to the the question ‘Does the person under investigation have a condition that could impair his or her judgement, reliability or ability to properly safeguard classified national security information,’ does the investigator request mental health records? I am in the midst of approval for an internship position and would prefer not to disclose that I have sought treatment (anxiety, nothing serious) because I do not feel comfortable with them reading about my personal history. I would rather not lie but I would also rather not disclose something unnecessary. I feel pretty confident that a therapist would have no concerns about me but I was under the impression that I am signing off on all of my mental health records if I admit to the counseling.
When the mental health practitioner(s) answer(s) “no” to the first question, there is no further investigation of this issue, unless the investigation surfaces contradictory information from some other record or personal source. When there is a “yes” to the first question, the applicant is usually required to complete an INV Form 16A, Specific Medical Release, which is used to obtain more detailed information regarding medication, other treatment, test results, and medical opinions regarding health, recovery and/or rehabilitation. If necessary a security adjudicator will consult with a qualified government mental health practitioner, and if any doubt remains about an applicant’s reliability, the applicant can be required to undergo a medical evaluation by a psychiatric consultant.
Read more in Mental Health and Final Security Clearances.