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The terrible loss of life in the Germanwings plane crash is tragic, and we send our deepest sympathies to the families. Whilst the full facts are still emerging, there has been widespread media reporting speculating about the link with the pilot’s history of depression, which has been overly simplistic.
Clearly assessment of all pilots’ physical and mental health is entirely appropriate - but assumptions about risk shouldn't be made across the board for people with depression, or any other illness. There will be pilots with experience of depression who have flown safely for decades, and assessments should be made on a case by case basis.
Today’s headlines risk adding to the stigma surrounding mental health problems, which millions of people experience each year, and we would encourage the media to report this issue responsibly.
Sue Baker, Director, Time to Change
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness