Here’s what I think of the suicidal German pilot thing. I posted it on http://www.wired.com/2015/03/no-way-screen-every-pilot-mental-illness/
This is another opportunity for people to wake up and aggressively research what the brain is doing during ‘abnormal’ mental states. The experiment isn’t even that hard. Offer compensation to volunteers, both depressed and of ‘normal’ mood to do a complete scan of their brain using whatever we have technologically over the course of their stated mental state. Have those same people come back on a regular basis for X amount of time. Do a blood draw and all of that. My thoughts kind of peter out there with some rumblings about 3d sonograms, MRIS, and EEG’s.(Not a scientist)
If we invest in doing this, find out what is actually going on instead of using the current guinea pig method of testing antidepressants and similar, we could turn mental illness into something that people understand.
Depression is hell. I have bipolar, so I have my depressed times, and I wish sometimes that I had a Neuroscientist handy to see what the heck is misfiring in there.
Mental illness of any kind comes with a stigma. I understand the stigma completely, because those of us with mental illness do not want to be ‘incapable’ or lazy. I think sometimes that may be the worst part. Those accursed words that haunt our brains, ‘You are sick. You can’t do this.’ We therefore appear, for lack of better words, ‘lazy’ and ‘cowardly’.
Of course the copilot didn’t self report. You go tell your boss tomorrow that you can’t come in because you’re sad. You have no handy reason to be, you just are.
So, by pursuing this, you establish a means for testing the pilots and surgeons and nuclear reactor technicians. Perhaps find a way to treat it, whether it’s genetic or self-developed. Perhaps we all have a propensity to become depressed, we just compensate in whatever way we find, and perhaps everyone is a little bit mentally ill in their own special way.
I wish Amy from Big Bang Theory was handy. She might be willing to do it just for fun.