Mental health self-reporting causes concerns after Germanwings plane crash

Mental health self-reporting causes concerns after Germanwings plane crash


The parent airline of Germanwings, Lufthansa, has a self-reporting policy that is under scrutiny after a co-pilot allegedly intentionally crashed a plane into the French Alps.

Lufthansa's current policy requires passing physical and psychological testing, but once a pilot is hired many airlines rely on individuals to report any issues with their mental health should they arise

"That's tricky because of the stigma attached to mental illness in our society," said Nancy Blaich, CEO of the Pastoral Institute in Columbus. Blaich explains that self-reporting a mental illness may not be practical due to that stigma.

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was allegedly hiding an illness from his employers. German authorities investigating the case claim to have found a doctor's note saying Lubitz was unfit to work.

So why did he continue to fly? Speculation grows as the world tries to make sense of this tragedy.

"No one wants to feel like they're damaged goods. No one wants to feel like something's wrong with me," Blaich said.

Lufthansa representatives say there is a reporting system where crews can report any suspected problems of others without any kind of punishment.

"That's why it's so important I think to train supervisors to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of an employee that may be struggling," Blaich said.

The International Air Line Pilots Association issued a comment on Thursday that all flight and cabin crew members monitor and evaluate each other while on duty- efforts that might be amped up in the coming days.

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