National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Airlines and Mental Health: Issues to Think About
Arlington, VA., March 29, 2012—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement concerning the recent incidents aboard American Airlines and JetBlue flights:
On March 27 this week, a JetBlue airline pilot experienced a medical emergency in flight. On March 10, an American Airlines flight attendant also experienced a medical crisis while aboard an aircraft. In the latter case, the crisis apparently involved what she indicated was a pre-existing diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The incidents have raised concerns about public safety and mental health issues in aviation and other workplace settings.
To-date, there is no information confirming that mental illness was involved in the JetBlue incident. There are many potential causes of sudden changes in behavior, ranging from diabetes to medication side effects to extreme sleep deprivation. Because of this, a thorough assessment is essential for anyone experiencing a rapid change in behavior.
Nonetheless, there are broad points and principles that are relevant for discussion by the public.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.
SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness