As Flight Attendants, we understand the importance of mental health in the aviation industry, especially when it comes to the mental health of Flight Attendants. Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to highlight why the mental health of flight attendants is so important to the aviation industry as a whole.
First and foremost, flight attendants play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers. We are responsible for responding to emergencies, providing medical assistance, and ensuring that passengers are safe during their flight. In order to do our job effectively, we need to be mentally alert and emotionally stable. However, the demanding and unpredictable nature of our job can take a toll on our mental health. Flight attendants often work long and irregular hours, and we may experience jet lag, disrupted sleep patterns, and a general lack of routine. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and burnout. Despite the clear importance of mental health in the aviation industry, it’s often a topic that is overlooked or not taken seriously enough. Mental health issues can be stigmatized, and there may be a perception that flight attendants should simply tough it out and get on with the job.
It’s important for airlines to prioritize mental health support for flight attendants. This includes providing even more improved access to mental health resources, such as free or low cost counseling or therapy services, as well as creating a supportive work environment where flight attendants feel comfortable discussing mental health issues without fear of stigma or retribution, as well as accommodations for crew members who need time off or schedule adjustments to manage their mental health.
By prioritizing the mental health of flight attendants, airlines can improve the well-being of their employees, which can have a positive impact on their job performance and overall job satisfaction. In addition, flight attendants who are mentally healthy are better equipped to handle any situation that may arise on a flight, which can ultimately lead to a safer and more comfortable flying experience for passengers.
The mental health of flight attendants can also have an impact on the overall image and reputation of the aviation industry. If flight attendants are struggling with mental health issues and are not receiving the support they need, this can lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover rates, which can ultimately impact the quality of service that airlines are able to provide.
The mental health of flight attendants is crucial to the success and safety of the aviation industry. By prioritizing mental health support for flight attendants, airlines can improve the well-being of their employees, create a safer and more comfortable flying experience for passengers, and enhance their overall brand reputation.
With long hours, high-stress situations, and intense pressure, those of us in aviation are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues. It’s important for us to take steps to care for our mental health. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s work together to prioritize mental health in the aviation industry and create a more supportive and empathetic work environment for flight attendants and other aviation professionals.
Here are a few tips Flight Attendants can take to prioritize their mental health:
- Practice self-care: Flight attendants should make time for self-care activities like exercise, meditation, journaling, or hobbies that they enjoy. These activities can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
- Stay connected: It’s important for flight attendants to stay connected with friends and family, both at home and while on the job. Call, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Post cards, text, lunch dates, walks in the park (weather permitting) etc. Maintaining strong relationships and social support can help reduce feelings of isolation and improve mental health.
- Take breaks: Flight attendants should take regular breaks during their shifts, even if it’s just a few minutes to stretch or take a few deep breaths. This can help reduce stress and prevent burnout.
- Seek professional help: If a flight attendant is struggling with their mental health, they should consider seeking professional help. Many airlines offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential counseling services to employees. Additionally, there are mental health organizations specifically for aviation workers that can provide support.
- Practice good sleep hygiene: Flight attendants should prioritize getting enough restorative sleep, as lack of sleep can contribute to poor mental health. This is the most difficult as we work such odd hours and irregular operations. But we can help by avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, keeping a consistent routine each time we wind down to sleep, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.
- Set boundaries: Flight attendants should set boundaries around work and personal time to help prevent burnout. This can include turning off work notifications during off-hours, getting off work pages via social media, scheduling regular time off, and prioritizing self-care activities.
- Take advantage of resources: Flight attendants should take advantage of mental health resources and support available to them. This can include employee assistance programs, mental health organizations like th|AIR|apy, and resources like meditation apps or online counseling services (visit our resource page for more options)
Overall, it’s important for flight attendants to prioritize their mental health and take steps to maintain their well-being, both on and off the job.
There are several organizations available to Flight Attendants to talk anonymously about their mental health. Here are a few options:
- th|AIR|apy : This organization was created by a Flight Attendant and provides free, confidential mental health support by text or WhatsApp to Flight Attendants globally via the th|AIR|apy text line. They offer peer to peer support, resources, access to counseling services on a network of therapists, financial advocacy and a community where you are seen and supported by your peers. You can text their 24/7 support line at 1-833-532-1096 via SMS or WhatsApp.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This organization provides free and confidential support to individuals in emotional distress or crisis, including those experiencing thoughts of suicide. You can call their 24/7 hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat with a counselor online.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): This organization provides information and resources related to mental health and substance abuse, including a free, confidential helpline that offers support 24/7. You can call their helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website for more information.
- The Mental Health Association: This organization offers a variety of resources and support services for individuals experiencing mental health issues, including a helpline that provides confidential support and referrals to local resources. You can call their helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit their website for more information.
It’s important to note that if you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, such as thoughts of suicide, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately. Additionally, all airlines offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential support and counseling services to their employees. You can contact your airline’s HR department or union representative for more information on available resources to get started on your journey.
This organization urges airlines and other organizations in the aviation industry to take this issue seriously and to prioritize improving mental health support for their employees not just in May for Mental Health Awareness Month, but EVERYDAY.
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