A new survey-based study published online in the public health journal Environmental Health found that a “significant number” of active pilots suffer from symptoms of depression. According to the study’s authors, all of whom are affiliated with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 233, or 12.6 percent, of the 1,848 airline pilots who responded to the survey met a threshold for depression. In addition, 75, or 4.1 percent, reported having suicidal thoughts.
“Although results have limited generalizability, there are a significant number of active pilots suffering from depressive symptoms,” the authors said. “We recommend airline organizations increase support for preventative mental health treatment.”
The study is based on an anonymous web-based survey administered between April and December 2015. The study was launched in the immediate aftermath of Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320-200 that, according to investigators, was intentionally flown into the ground in the French Alps by its first officer, killing all 150 on board.