Pilot Assistance Network- a light to help the darkened times.
I recently had a pilot attend for his annual medical. Even though i'd not undertaken his medical with me before, it was refreshing to see that he was open and honest about his current struggles. 2 young children, recently married to a professional also at the start of her career. Busy work schedule and little time to exercise let alone enjoy life with his partner. He'd therefore engaged with his company's Pilots Assistance Network and found it useful. Having undertaken several Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions he'd started to see results and found the process very useful.
Following on from the Andrea Lubitz affair EASA has sought ways to assist pilots with mental health issues which are not uncommon in todays society. Looking at the excellent Qantas programme in place for a number of years ( https://panaircrew.org) EASA has sought to replicate such systems and therefore reduce the risk of another German Wings tragedy. UK airlines like British Airways have therefore set up similar networks ( https://www.speedbirdpan.com). This is run in conjunction with Professor Robert Bor (http://www.dccclinical.com/patient-services/aviation-psychology/) whose organisation can provide support not only for pilots but also assist aeromedical examiners in navigating the challenges of assisting pilots with their mental health issues whilst maintaining regulatory requirements and ensuring confidentiality is strictly kept.
Whilst this case was not my first case, I am hoping to have more of these open, honest and frank discussions during routine aviation medicals in order to be another resource in signposting pilots to assistance networks run by pilots to help pilots with the challenges of their significant work and life stresses.