Day 161

It seems from today’s mainstream media that the pilot, 27 years old Andreas Lubitz, “who appears to have deliberately caused the crash” had a history of depression. He had taken 6 months out from training to recover from it. This is not unusual in any field of work but has caused a deluge of stigmatizing reports in the press all over the world.

Was he a culprit or a victim?

If he had asthma or diabetes, would he have felt the same pressures?

Was his work environment open and able to factor in his illness in a way that the personal cost for him would not include shame and possibly loss of employment?

Was he stressed or depressed or both at the time? Did he seek or have any support?

Is it correct to conclude that the crash was a direct result of his mental illness? There is no evidence in scientific literature that depressed people pose a danger to others due to their illness. On the contrary it is clear that people with mental health problems are far more likely to be harmed by others or themselves. Unfortunately a lot of the media has taken the easy option of blaming his mental illness as the sole reason for the crash while they could have used this tragedy to explore the impact of stress and the need for greater support.

Here is another example of the media’s limited and flawed view of mental illnesses:

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/01/30/fox-host-tells-caller-her-bipolar-disorder-is-m/202349

My son was depressed for 6 weeks before he ended his life. He was kind and polite as ever. He could not have harmed anyone else.

“They have added to the stigmatization of a group that society already does a superb job of demonizing.” says Masuma Rahim in The Guardian.

I completely agree.

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