Aircrew Mental Health: Going Beyond Compliance

Elizabeth Grew | 27.11.2018

Symbiotics were delighted to sponsor the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) conference last month with a focus on Aircrew Mental Health: Going Beyond Compliance, as this is an area of key importance. As part of the conference stream Symbiotics' Principal Occupational Psychologist, Karen Moore, presented a paper around Monitoring Mental Health and how best this can be effectively and economically measured to best support individuals and companies.

This was a very positive event overall, with some interesting papers and some positive messages coming out from all involved regarding progress around mental wellbeing within the industry and the monitoring of pilot mental health. The creation of peer support networks is ongoing too, which is also generating some additional interesting challenges as a result. To be a good 'counselling' pilot within the support network one requires a good level of emotional intelligence and listening skills, traits that pilots are not necessarily naturally strong at.

Karen, and all of the Symbiotics team, are passionate about monitoring mental wellbeing across all industries and are looking to make sure that people are being picked up before they feel that they have reached a point of 'I need help'. Understanding that this is a journey to this stage, we know that there are indicators along the way that could be picked up and support at this stage could stop someone getting to the point where they don't know which way to turn.

Promoting ongoing support and monitoring mental wellbeing as opposed to allowing individuals to reach a poor mental state was the specific topic for the event. Of the eight registered aviation-specific psychologists in the UK, five were in attendance at the conference and the reception to Karen's paper was very positive with lots of interesting discussions stemming from this.

Mental health within aviation isn't a new discussion, indeed the first mental hospital specifically for pilots was opened in London in 1917. These conversations are happening more openly and urgently now as a result of the regulatory changes, but it has taken 100 years for the regulations to catch up and recognise that mental wellbeing of pilots is a very important consideration.

This event demonstrated the importance of the work Symbiotics is doing and just underlines how important it is for mental wellbeing to remain at the forefront of the mind whilst ensuring the difference is understood between personality measures and measures of mental wellbeing. Our partnership with MHS Assessments in the offering of MindQ™ is an important part of the picture.

As a clinically validated assessment, changes in an individual's mental wellbeing can be tracked and potential risk therefore highlighted. Investing in this benefits obviously the people involved but also can increase productivity of the team overall by reducing absenteeism and presenteeism, both dangerous in high-risk industries such as aviation. Both MindQ™ and our personality questionnaire are supported by Symbiotics' team of psychologists to provide vital feedback allowing the wellbeing of the team to be an easy task to maintain.

To find out more about how Symbiotics can help you to look after the mental wellbeing of your team, to find out when Karen is speaking next or to enquire about a demonstration of any of our software get in touch with us on +44 (0) 1905 368175 or email contact@symbioticsltd.co.uk.