After 150 people were killed in March on Germanwings Flight 9525, it was inconceivable to think co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps.
When it was revealed that Lubitz was suffering from depression, it was a wake-up call for the aviation industry as a whole to address mental illness in the workplace.
Given that October is Mental Health Month, and the fact that one in five Australians will experience a mental illness in the next 12 months (almost 50 per cent of us in our lifetimes) the Black Dog Institute says there is no time like the present to:
- START CONVERSATIONS around mental health with your family and friends.
- SEEK OUT and allow people to help you if you feel you are not managing.
- BUILD AWARENESS in your local community.
Because it’s not just pilots that are susceptible—all aviation employees can be at risk of suffering given the stresses and demands of their work.
Earlier this year Flight Safety Australia addressed this issue in, Flying beyond the blue and CASA’s Principal Medical Officer said mental illness is, ‘becoming something which more people are prepared to own up about and want to talk about a bit more—culturally, however, I don’t think Australia is at the forefront for men to talk about this sort of thing.’
‘The trouble with depression particularly, is that it is frequently insidious. You don’t realise until something bad happens that things actually are bad … it’s not something that many people are prepared to admit to.’
CASA’s Aviation Medicine branch has released a fact sheet and case study on depression to convey information regarding the health condition’s aeromedical impact:
Further help and support is available at:
- beyondblue—seeking help and getting support is essential in treating depression and anxiety. Ph: 1300 22 4636.
- The Black Dog Institute—website contains information on when and where to get help, support groups, personal stories and videos.
- MensLine Australia—A telephone and online support, information and referral service, helping men to deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way. Ph: 1300 78 99 78.
- CASA Aviation Medicine contacts