Mental illness and the issues surrounding it have been in the news a lot recently following the Germanwings plane crash. I’m not going to focus on it too much, but I think it’s worth reading this article by The Guardian – one individual, isolated, unpredictable and tragic event does not mean the world’s opinion on mental illness should change; and unfortunately some of the comments following recent articles about the incident would suggest it has.
Anybody that has been deemed fit to work should be able to do so no matter their illness, disability – or whatever else. Don’t quote this statistic because it’s entirely made up, but I’m guessing at least 99.999999999% of people with a history of mental illness don’t mass murder. If not more.
Every single day I get comments on my posts and numerous emails from people explaining their illnesses and asking for advice, coping mechanisms or just a general chat because let’s face it – living with this crap inside our heads is almost impossible. I have spoken to hundreds of people who suffer with some form of mental health problem – depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD, BPD, OCD… and they all have as much of a right to be ‘normal’ as the next person. They all have as much of a right to work.
And yes, not every job has as much responsibility over so many people as does the job of a pilot, but realistically in every walk of life somebody who is deemed mentally ill (or not, in fact!) could end your life. All we can do is hope that we’re not in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s no doubt a massive tragedy, and my thoughts go out to every single victim on and off that plane (and yes, this includes Lubitz’s family who must be mortified and inconsolable by learning the truth of what happened mid-grief) – but we’ve come to far and evolved too much to go back to thinking that the mentally ill are dangerous and unsuitable for work.
We’ve come too far to listen to idiotic, insensitive and downright wrong comments such as this one from Katie Hopkins yesterday; who as per usual is still purposely trying to gage a reaction to hold onto her ever-so fragile career.
Stigma is not OK.
1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health illness. By my calculations of what Google deems the world population to be – that’s one billion, seven hundred and fifty million people who suffer around the world. One isolated case should not be enough to change your opinion.