A task force set up following the Germanwings air tragedy earlier this year has published its results – with peer support and improved psychological monitoring among its recommendations.
The task force, led by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was assembled in May 2015 at the request of the EU Commissioner for Transport. The team analysed the preliminary findings of the crash investigation to assess the adequacy of European air safety and security rules. In their report, the task force issues six recommendations. These are now being thoroughly examined by the European Commission before deciding on next steps.
Among the six recommendations are improved psychological health checks for pilots – specifically that all pilots should undergo a psychological evaluation before entering airline service – and the implementation of pilot support systems within airlines with specific references to peer support.
Professor Neil Greenberg, Clinical Director of March on Stress, President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society, and King’s College London academic psychiatrist, said: “The findings and recommendations of the task force are very sensible approaches to improving the psychological resilience and occupational health of airline employees, including pilots.
“Psychological monitoring and, in particular, peer support are becoming increasingly common in organisations looking to boost their resilience and support their staff.
“This is particularly important for organisations whose staff operate in safety critical roles such as airlines but also other public transport roles including train operators and coach companies. Having processes in place, alongside robust policy, helps to reduce stigma which in turn increases help seeking and enables the signs and symptoms of mental health issues to be spotted at an earlier stage.
“We look forward to hearing the next steps from the European Commission and providing our expertise in occupational and operational psychological support as required.”For more on the March on Stress psychological monitoring service (known as the Wellness service) please click here. For more on peer support through the leading model of TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) please click here. To access the full report and recommendations, please click here.
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