One thing that has recently been in the news (in relation to mental health) is Andreas Lubitz, who was the German pilot who crashed an airline. As in most situations, this kind of coverage (whether intentionally or not) continues to stigmatize mental health because it forces society to think of mental health and psychological disorders only in context of fear. That is, mental health rarely gets coverage in a positive or constructive manner, it usually is only covered in relation to fear and violence. There is also rarely a call for mental health to be prioritized more and often a subtle (or not so much for) victim-blaming vibe to coverage.
So I decided to read a couple of the articles on the issue and see some idea that were re-occurring.
Here two things I picked out:
1. Lubitz as “killer” – there seems to be a tendency to refer to Lubitz as killer. Although the notion is of course understandable, especially given the amount of lives that were lost, it still re-asserts the dominant conversation that exists surrounding psychological disorders. That is he is sketched out as ‘evil’ (or any variation of the term) without qualifying him as having a disorder.
2. Lubitz hiding his illness/Lubitz ‘slipping through’- many articles are very insistent about claiming how Lubitz purposely tried to hide his illness from his workers (or about how the system ‘somehow’ let him through). This assumes a few things. For one, it assumes that we live in a world without mental health stigma and that he could have easily made it known to his employers that he was living with depression. There is no question as to why he seemed to feel the need to hide it. The flip-side argument assumes that individuals with psychological disorders are all non-functioning. It almost seems as if they claim that anyone who is living depression should not be allowed to work. Of course safety in general is always an issue but the way the arguments are constructed are reductionist and marginalizing of those living with depression.