Crash is chilling reminder: We often don’t recognize mental illness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Have you ever had one of those moments when you thought “how could this have happened?”

This question popped through my head the day I heard the news of the Airbus A320 jet that dived from cruising altitude right into the French Alps, killing all 150 people onboard.

Reports have surfaced since then that one of the co-pilots intentionally crashed the plane, and The New York Times reported that the pilot — Andreas Lubitz — had been treated for suicidal tendencies.

In the same article, the NYT also reported that Lubitz was examined by doctors and found to not show any ill will toward himself or others. In fact, he was treated for a long period of time.

The issue relating to this story now is whether he told the truth. It seems he didn’t.

Mental illness affects many people, and a lot more people can’t detect whether their loved ones or friends are going through a tough time or showing any sort of symptom.

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or almost one in four adults suffer from a mental and diagnosable disorder in a given year, according to the Kim Foundation, an organization that helps provide a voice to those impacted by mental illness.

In seventh grade, one of my classmates committed suicide and that affected everyone deeply.

To this day, I really don’t know why she did it, but I’m hoping it wasn’t because she had an undetected mental illness.

The online newspaper article goes on to say that it was Lubitz’s doctor’s duty to let his employer know about the issue if it could endanger the lives of passengers.

Many, including myself, are questioning how this could have happened in the first place.

I literally thought that he may have thought about this for a while and decided that he was going to take his chance at ending his life in this fashion.

Hearing the news that 150 had died as a result of the crash sent my mouth dropping in astonishment.

The story then was hinging on what the black recorder box was going to say about the flight after officials at the scene recovered it.

The next story I heard was about a trial, where court officials said that the pilot turned the automatic pilot off, which sent the plane into a nose dive.

It kills me to think that this happened to so many people.

With the story now centered on Lubitz’s mental state when the plane went down, let it also be a reminder that mental illness is a serious thing.

Speak up if you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues.

It could save more than you know.