A study found that airline pilot depression may be more common than previously believed as the research was based on anonymous data.
Airline workers are often considered to have glamorous jobs. But most seem to forget that such workers also have their difficulties and problems.
A new survey went to show just how many airline pilots suffered from depressing thoughts. The study was carried out by a team of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It was led by Dr. Joseph Allen.
Allen went to release a few statements on the matter. Data for the study was collected under anonymity. According to the lead, this was decided upon in hopes of gathering more accurate results.
The team weighed the advantages of such a collection method. However, Dr. Allen stated that most pilots fear social stigma.
Pilot depression or depressive symptoms are reportedly believed to have a negative impact on their career. As such, many pilots are reportedly afraid of seeking more specialized help.
The survey involved about 3,485 pilots, both male and female. It addressed a wider range of general health topic. However, only a few fully completed it.
Only about 1,848 of the total number answered mental health questions. Amongst the total number of pilots, 1,586 were from the United States.
Canadian, Australian, and British commercial airline pilots also took part in the survey. The study used data revealed by pilots from over 50 countries. The survey was carried out in between April to December 2015.
The current survey is the first to focus solely on the pilots’ mental health. More exactly, it did not rely on regulated health check-ups, nor on identifiable self-reports. It also did not include aircraft accident investigation reports.
Final results were based on the 1,848 to have completed the mental health section. Amongst them, 12.6 percent presented signs of clinical depression. 75 such participants also reported having suicidal thoughts.
A number of 1,430 of the 1,848 reported having flown within the last seven days. 13.5 percent or 193 of them presented depression signs. It was also determined that they could have met the criteria set for such an issue.
Male pilots were deemed to be more affected than female pilots. They reported more occurrences of such daily problems.
It was established that about 34 men had almost daily concentration issues. They also reported having failure-related feelings. 31 pilots, including 4 female flyers, reported feeling depressed almost or every day.
The results are troubling, but they also cannot be taken as a generalization. This comes from the lead author himself. He went to state that study results have a limited generalizability.
However, there still are a significant number of potential pilot depression symptoms or cases. As such, the research team released a few recommendations.
They suggested that airline companies should increase preventive mental health treatments and support. Potential pilot depression should also lose its stigma.
Researchers believe that most pilots are afraid to report such potential problems. They could fear work discrimination and a negative career impact.
Airline pilots generally have a very good mental and physical health. However, depression and other health issues could come to affect them throughout life.
By removing the pilot depression stigma, measures could be taken. A timely treatment or even easier methods could be used. They could come to ensure a healthier pilot life and also increase customer safety.
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