Depression is getting a bit of a kicking in the media this last couple of days because co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had apparently been diagnosed with it and not only that, a sick note found in his apartment was inclusive of the day of the crash.
All I’m seeing across the media is reports that he should never have been flying. Technically this is right, his doctor had signed him off sick. However, many of the headlines and articles written for this mornings papers were written before the information about the sick notes was released. Therefore the insinuation was that Andreas Lubitz killed himself and 150 other souls because he had depression but suicide bombers are the only people I’m really aware of that want to kill themselves and take as many other people with them as they can.
So, that’s why I have a concern about immediately blaming depression as the cause of the Germanwings aircraft being deliberately flown in to the mountains in the French Alps.
If Andreas Lubitz was so ill with depression that his doctor signed him off, why did no one else notice that he was unwell? Colleagues at work, other pilots, stewards, family and friends. They all saw him.
His captain on the day of the crash didn’t appear to have any concerns about him having a completely normal conversation with him before leaving the cock-pit. There appears to be nothing to report from Lubitz behaviour and his conversation in the cock-pit that would have alerted to anyone that anything was wrong.
Depression isn’t something you can hide easily, especially when you get further and further towards wanting to end your life. So this is why I’m against depression, leading to suicide, being immediately and cruelly blamed for this crash.
Suddenly Lubitz is being painted as a cold-hearted killer who set out to murder a plane full of people. Suggested by at least two news outlets that he had been jilted somewhere along the line although one is now suggesting he was getting married next year.
Of course, this is what happens when conclusions are jumped to within seconds of information being released. Suddenly he should never have been flying. Why? Is he the only pilot in the whole entire world that suffered depression? The answer is, undoubtedly, no. Have they all told their employers about it?
The Germanwings crash is a heartbreaking tragedy, this is no doubt about that. Hundreds of family members and friends of the deceased passengers and crew now have to live with what happened, to mourn and then try and move on with their lives knowing that one way or another the plane was brought down deliberately.
Depression cannot be solely blamed, or in fact, blamed at all for this crash.
Airlines have immediately decided that there should be two crew members in the cabin, why has it taken this tragedy for that to become obvious? Surely that should have been a given. Without this crash happening it would have made common sense. Imagine a flight where the captain has gone to the toilet and the co-pilot simply takes ill, there’s no one in the cock-pit with him to know this. To have two people in the cock-pit at all times should have been in place long ago.
The simple fact is, we may never know exactly why Andeas Lubitz make the decisions he did. It may have everything to do with his depression, or it may not. We just may never know.