In follow up to my previous article, “Depression is everybody’s problem”, this article will point out the danger of depression when gone unchecked.
The 2015 crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525 on March 24, 2015 which killed all one hundred fifty persons on board is a stark reminder of the need for closer scrutiny of those who are put in charge of the lives of others.
In the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525, the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had apparently been struggling with mental illness and depression for some time. He even received a letter declaring him unfit for work (at some point)which somehow officials are only finding out about now as a result of Lubitz hiding the letter.
Like many depressed and psychologically distressed people, Lubitz apparently was able to hide his illness all too well; many who knew him, found him, normal, capable and even fun.
Even when he was originally hired by Lufthansa in 2008, the company said Lubitz was psychologically sound and completely fit to fly.
As of today however, after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bild (a German Newspaper) citing unnamed sources claiming that Lubitz had suffered severe mental illness, Lufthansa has now admitted they learned in 2009 that Lubitz had suffered a “previous episode of severe depression”.
Although Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, knew of Lubitz’s battle with depression, they allowed him to continue training and ultimately put him in the cockpit.
Lufthansa contends however, that because “Lubitz had a valid medical certificate, had passed all his examinations and “held all the licenses required”; there was no reason not to let him fly.
This is a staunch reminder of the need by every one of us to take a proverbial pinch of our mental capacity to see if we’re really ok. We all need to maintain good mental and emotional health but unfortunately not everyone is willing to check their mental and spiritual compass.
If you doubt your mental stability for even a minute, for goodness sakes talk to somebody professionally. Don’t be so proud that you endanger yourself or those around you.
On another level of mental health, too often like the recent German Air crash, someone with less than competent mental capacity gains control of people and either limits or ends their lives.
The potential for anyone with power over people to take such control to the extreme is just too fragile to allow incompetency to be put in control.
Having worn so many professional hats over the years as a pastor, theologian, psychologist and insurance adjuster, this writer has seen far too much incompetence among those in charge of others.
The old saying of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is so true.
This writer has seen good men and women totally collapse under the obligation of power and control.
I’ve seen pastor’s attempt suicide after major catastrophes like hurricanes which wiped out their churches and homes, theologians who couldn’t handle a flaw in a theological truth they once held firm, attorneys who lost major cases, athletes who lost the big game, parents who lost children and on and on.
In short, everyone is vulnerable to mental illness and associated depression at some point in their life.
When life becomes more than we can handle on our own, that’s when we need to talk to someone professionally.
But what about the professionals who think they’re above talking to someone?
Does this not support the need for a required mental assessment of every major professional?
Certainly all pilots, bus drivers, train operators, ship captains and personnel, doctors and hospital staff, law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors and certainly all politicians should be required to have an extensive mental health screening; not just a criminal background check but an intensive mental health checkup.
Most of all both the Democratic and Republican Parties should include in their Presidential Candidate vetting process a mental health checkup made public to all.
Good mental health is very important and should never be taken for granted because the mind can indeed be a dangerous thing.
Please, if you are having strange or unusual thoughts, feeling depressed or lonely, call someone today at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also call your political party requesting that a mental health checkup be required in all political candidate vetting processes; especially of those running for the office of president.
© 2019 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III