Germanwings crash draws attention to depression, stress in workplace

in Non-Fiction by

As awful as the news was about the recent crash in the French Alps of Germanwings Flight 9525, the world was shocked once again when it was learned that the disaster, which cost 150 people their lives, seems to have been caused intentionally by the flight’s co-pilot, Andres Lubitz. In the aftermath of the crash, it was learned that Lubitz had been treated for severe depression and suicidal tendencies prior to his training as a commercial pilot.

There are few occupations more stressful than that of the commercial airline pilot (in fact, the employment industry webzine CareerCast.com recently rated it 2015’s fourth most-stressful job, behind those of firefighters, enlisted military personnel and military generals). All jobs come with their own unique forms of stress which, left untreated, can lead not only to chronic anxiety, but to depression and other serious difficulties.

In the wake of the Germanwings disaster, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, the former commercial airlines captain who garnered international praise when he landed his disabled passenger plane in New York’s Hudson River, has penned an article for Time.com highlighting the need for pilots to feel safe when reporting their own instances of mental health problems. In the article, Sullenberger argues against keeping “mental health issues underground, where [problems] can never be solved.”

Here are some new books that can help readers of every profession deal with stress, both in the workplace and in life in general. As Captain Sully suggests in his article, we should honor the victims of the Germanwings tragedy by having “a global conversation” about stress and mental illness, and how we can save lives by openly and honestly combating both.

Thriving Under Stress: Harnessing Demands in the Workplace by Thomas W. Britt and Steve M. Jex (Oxford University Press, 2015)

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Thriving Under Stress shows readers how employees can create positive results from stressful working conditions by focusing on the significance of their work and recovering effectively, both during the day and at home. By doing so, workers can not only become more productive, but avoid short- and long-term problems that can adversely affect their physical and mental well-being.

The Smart Guide to Managing Stress by Bryan Robinson (Smart Guide Publications, 2015)

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Robinson, a psychotherapist and widely-published author on stress, self-esteem and self-confidence, gives practical tips and advice on reducing stress and living a healthy, productive life.

Mindfulness for Life by Dr. Stephen McKenzie, Craig Hassed and Ian Gawler (Exisle Publishing, 2014)

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In this book, the authors explore mindfulness, a form of mental training practiced for millennia, and describe how it can be used to combat such conditions as stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, pain, and eating and sleep disorders.

Michael Ruscoe is a writer, teacher, and musician living in Southern Connecticut. He is the author of the novel, "From the Stray Cat Files: You’ll Do Anything," the anthology, "Baseball: A Treasury of Art and Literature," and numerous educational texts. An instructor at Southern Connecticut State University, Ruscoe is also lead singer and songwriter for the indie band Save the Androids! In his spare time he earns karma for his next life by ardently following the New York Mets. The proud father of two children, Ruscoe also cares for and supports a pair of goldfish, who, in all honesty, are not very good conversationalists.

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