Pilots Say They’re Afraid to Seek Mental Health Care. The FAA Says It’s Listening

January 12, 2024

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Federal regulators say they are taking steps to support pilots’ mental health. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it set up a new committee to evaluate FAA’s current policies in this area. The committee will make recommendations “to identify and break down any remaining barriers” that bar pilots and air traffic controllers from disclosing and seeking help for mental health issues. Pilots and other aviation professionals say they are reluctant to access care when they are struggling for fear of losing medical clearance to do their jobs. “There are so many untold stories of pilots—pilots I know personally—who struggle with their mental health,” said pilot Troy Merritt. “And avoid care because they feel trapped by the system, and their options within that system.” Merritt sought mental health treatment himself and is glad he did. “Today I have no regrets for taking care of my mental health. It was absolutely the right thing for me to do,” he said.

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