A STATEMENT FROM SUPPORT IN MIND SCOTLAND ON THE MEDIA RESPONSE TO THE GERMANWINGS AIRLINE CRASH

Support in Mind Scotland extends our deepest sympathies to the families bereaved by the loss of the Germanwings Flight 9525.

We join See Me and SAMH in Scotland and Time to Change in England and Wales in condemning the way that this has been reported in the media so far, and the widespread and much too early speculation on the front pages of Scottish newspapers about a history of depression on the part of the co-pilot being directly responsible for these tragic events.  Assessment of the pilot’s physical and mental health is, or course, appropriate and should be made on a case by case basis. There will be pilots who have flown safely for decades who have experienced depression. 

See Me and partners, like Support in Mind Scotland, have been campaigning for over a decade on breaking the silence around mental health and fighting the stigma that people face.  It is vital that when the estimated 500,000 people living in Scotland who experience depression want to ask for help in the workplace, they will feel safe to do so. It is wrong to assume that those experiencing depression area risk to society.

The media has a duty to report the issues responsibly and the National Union of Journalists provide practical guidelines for reporting on mental health and we urge journalists to consult these guidelines.

Frances Simpson, Chief Executive
Support in Mind Scotland.