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USA: applause for pilots' mental health initiative of FAA

It involves a change in mentality that takes time and will not be immediate

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering a change to monitor the mental health of American airline pilots. The professionals themselves feel they need treatment for depression and are faced with a difficult choice: reveal it and face the possibility of not flying for many months, or say nothing and risk a health crisis that puts themselves in danger. and the others.

"I think it's time for a refresher. Our focus will definitely be on safety in the cockpit, but I think we need to have a system that allows people to be more available and get treatment for problems that shouldn't keep you out from the cockpit", said FAA administrator Mike Whitaker in recent hours.

"Many of us are not as willing" to seek treatment, "as we otherwise would be" if not subjected to long FAA monitoring, Joseph Emerson, the Alaska Airlines pilot who in October, in the throes of a depressive crisis, attempted to crash a plane, but was promptly blocked by the on-board staff and then arrested.

This is not an isolated incident. A 2016 Harvard University study estimates that pilots who find themselves in this condition are 12.6% of the total. For this reason in the United States many industry experts applaud the FAA initiative, even if this involves a change in mentality that will take time and few expect an immediate change of pace.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency