This Victorian COVID19 lockdown has been nothing short of a gift.
Let me explain why. We have TIME ...for the first time in I don't know how long, in more years than I care to remember.
Now as a pilot, time gets all screwed up. Irregular schedules, shocking sleeping patterns, flight and duty limits pushed to the max, a demand to have ice in your veins day in and day out and NO social life, and I mean NO social life, not even a pilot/crew room to get to know the team you will be flying with on a regular working day (alarmingly in a lot of cases).
Through Talking Leads Aviation Network, it has become abundantly clear, how Pilots mental health pre-Covid was SHOT from the above mentioned stressors and lack of attention and now fast forward 8 months, Pilots are simply abandoned like they never existed.
I have recognised that we have all been so busy doing more, getting more and obeying more, pleasing more and losing ourselves more, that now that we have all this time, we subsequently have the space to recognise how broken the mental health and human factors system (that was designed to protect our very safety) has fallen devastatingly short on its purpose. Thank goodness more tragedies didn't occur.
So now we have highlighted a clear problem area, here's the hidden Covid19 gift to aviation, we have the time and space to rectify the problem. To build a super-sound future before the industry recovers fully, so that we can prevent future disasters from occurring, via gleefully ignoring pilot mental health stressors.
I initially devised Talking Leads Aviation Network to come up with the UBER of Aviation and although I didn't expect it to be the uncovering of serious deficits in human factors and the health and well being of pilots, it has in fact become the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.
The exposition and now eradication of unspoken, buried, taboo but clearly extant pilot mental health avoidance is now the mission (before the industry gets back on its feet).
If more accidents start to occur in the future because these issues continue to be ignored, I will never forgive myself for not pushing an open discussion on the mental health and well being of pilots and all aviation professionals for that matter, from Executives to Ground Crew. This is for everyone in aviation and it needs to happen now, while we have the time.
So as a starting point, I am going to be addressing this lack of attention and communication on the subject of Pilots mental health, in the up coming Talking Leads Aviation Network events and I will be inviting some of aviations biggest names to contribute their viewpoints on the matter.
To leave you with the an exquisite example on just how resolvable this problem is, with simple honest communication, here are some profound words from kids about the subject of love.
A group of professionals posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!
'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore... So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca - age 8
'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4
'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5
'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6
'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4
'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 8
'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.' Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.' Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.' Noelle - age 7
'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6
'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8
'My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.' Clare - age 6
'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' Elaine - age 5
'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7
'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary Ann - age 4
'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4
'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image!) Karen - age 7
'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross...' Mark - age 6
'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8
And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.'