How Mental Illness Affects the Friendly Skies

In light of the recent Lufthansa/Germanwings crash, much attention has been given to the rigors afforded to monitoring pilots’ health. This new concern based, at least partially, on this isolated incident, replaces the old concern about the pilot’s sobriety. The problem is these are both generalizations and stereotypes.

In this article featured on the Healthy Place website, you can read about the screening process pilots undergo to be cleared to provide travel. Per Christina Hali, a pilot and mental health advocate,

“Stigma may deter airline pilots from pursuing treatment for depression and the special medical certificate required. Pilots have a reputation for being high achievers, competent, dutiful, disciplined, assertive, confident and calm in dangerous situations. Stigma tells pilots that mental illness is a weakness, which conflicts with typical pilot traits.”…

“Pilots’ mental health and stigma is an essential topic we need to discuss. The rules will continue to sharpen in light of the recent attention to pilots’ mental health. As a career pilot and avid mental health advocate, I encourage the conversation.”

Eliminating stigma for the millions experiencing mental illness has to be a priority. Too many, 1 in four adult Americans, will experience a mental illness this year. An issue this common needs to be discussed. Join the discussion to end the stigma.

To read the full article by Pilot Christina Hali, click here.