Pilots’ Mental Health: Are Airlines Doing Enough?
Airlines Unprepared for Mandatory Psychological Evaluations
A survey has recently been completed targeted at gathering insight and opinion around the new EASA Regulations into psychological testing of Pilots. This survey, conducted by the company Symbiotics, has provided some useful yet concerning information about the readiness of the aviation industry to comply with the new rules that come into force in July 2020.
Of the European Pilot respondents, only 10% are very / extremely familiar with the amendments as opposed to 45% who have no familiarity at all. Only 17% of survey respondents’ employers have solutions or psychological assessments in place already, demonstrating a serious lack of readiness for the mandatory evaluations.
Going beyond compliance - mental wellbeing
It is clear that mental health is a growing issue, in aviation as it is across all industries: statistics from the mental health Charity, Mind suggest that globally 1 in 4 adults will experience at least one mental health condition in any one year, and that at any particular time 1 in 6 adults are experiencing a mental health condition; that is around 450 million people globally.
Given the accepted mental ill-health figures and FAA Pilot recruitment statistics, this means that approximately 114,000 Pilots could be experiencing a mental health condition at this moment. This is made even more relevant with the recent Beechcraft B200 Super King Air crash in Botswana where the Pilot crashed the airplane into a club house at Matsieng Air Strip, appearing to be suffering from a mental health condition.
The results of Symbiotics’ recent aviation questionnaire highlight the concerns about the new regulations and ensuing industry updates, but also the stigma that is still attached around the issue of mental health. 36% of survey respondents said that they, or someone they knew well, has experienced a mental health condition within the last five years, but 43% of respondents chose not to respond to the question despite ‘no’ being an option. This suggests a greater issue still, with a lack of openness on the subject holding back the willingness for conversations around mental ill-health to take place.
With only 5% of Symbiotics survey respondents who had experience of mental ill-health informing their employer, this brings to light the serious risk that could still be present and why, perhaps, assessment just at recruitment is not enough. Further to this, 19% of those who had experience of mental ill-health received no support to help them recover.
Symbiotics offer ‘Mindfull’, a mental wellbeing risk assessment solution, that includes MindQ assessment from MHS Assessment, which assesses and tracks an individual’s mental state and provides insights into changes and sign posting for support. When used at the recommended 2-3 times annually, this allows for early intervention, when mental health concerns are highlighted as a risk or the individual can be seen to be on a downward trajectory.
Brookfield Aviation International fully supports this initiative. To find out more about Symbiotics’ mental wellbeing assessment solutions please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1905 368175.