Suicide attempts and mental health

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Abigail Watson, May 22, 2020 at 11:58 AM.

  1. Abigail Watson

    Abigail Watson Filing Flight Plan

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    I’m a 23 y/o and I was hoping to start my aviation career here in the next couple of years, but I have hesitated on getting my AME because my life has been a huge wreck.

    I was diagnosed with depression at 16, I’ve taken several different medications, trying to find my sweet spot. I had a small handful of suicide attempts between 16-20, with my last attempt being March 27, 2017, when I was 20. I had a lot going on with my family life, parents divorcing, fiancé cheating on me, and my fiancé had been financially abusing me, so I felt like it was all over for me.

    I started going to therapy, saw a psychiatrist, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I completed therapy and feel like I can function so much better as an adult. I also just got told by my new psychiatrist that my last psych “grossly over diagnosed” me, that I just have regular depression, and that women Get diagnosed wrong all the time. He’s got me on Wellbutrin with intent to eventually wean me off entirely. So now I feel like I might finally have a chance of pursuing my dreams of being a pilot, but maybe not quite. I’ve heard there is a doctor around here somewhere that gives guidance on these types of things so I just want to know:

    With a new diagnosis, new medication plan, and all the therapy I’ve accomplished and continue to do (I don’t plan on ever quitting therapy), do I have a chance of ever being a commercial pilot, or do I give up on that altogether? Should I go to a HIMS AME before I do anything? Should I wait a year or two? My main worry is the 2 suicide attempts between 18-20, that I’ll be entirely disqualified from getting anywhere in aviation. I have a lot of questions and don’t know where else to go.
     
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    With this history, You will need the help and guidance of a HIMS AME no matter what.

    My suggestion is setting up a consultation visit with the HIMS AME to discuss the possibility of medical certification (especially can you get a first class since you state you wish to make a career out of aviation) and what will be involved with obtaining the certification (what pathways, examinations, documentation, cost budget, time line, ongoing recertifications, etc).

    Keep this a consultation only: no formal live exam or completing federal forms. By keeping it a consultation, you preserve the choice of saying "not today" and pursuing your dream at a later date.

    If it was a live exam and the result was a denial, it adds layers of big difficulty to any future attempts.

    Good luck to you and keep us in the loop of any progress.
     
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  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    By the way, HIMS AME's are not 100% equal. Some are better at other areas than their peers. So you should research for who is the best at mental health issues such as yours and go see that one.

    This may involve travel, but that cost of time and money might be well invested if you are paired with the best AME for your situation over one who is next door but not as well equipped to help you.
     
  4. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    @AggieMike88 gave you good advice, and there are some AMEs here who are likely to chime in as well. I've nothing to add except I wish you the best of luck.
     
  5. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    A question for the gallery....

    How is a history of suicide attempts viewed by future 121/135 employers?
     
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  6. Abigail Watson

    Abigail Watson Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you so much! I need all the luck I can get here.
     
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  7. p1l0t

    p1l0t Line Up and Wait

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    A lot also depends on whether you are trying to go airline or just fly for fun. Sport pilot I think doesn't even need a medical.. ATP requires a 1st Class (depending the operation).

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
     
  8. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Even with sport pilot you can't fly with a condition that could affect your ability to safely operate an aircraft. The OP has some significant and recent mental health history.
     
  9. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I'm sorry. I have no advice to give you that's better than what's already been given. Good luck, hang in there. Mental health is a serious thing
     
  10. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Employers generally don’t ask such questions. They leave that to the FAA. If you have a valid medical that generally suffices as a positive result to such concerns.
     
  11. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    The professional aviation landscape changed dramatically for the worse about 60 days ago. It will be quite a few years before it rebounds and gets anywhere close to where it was before if it ever does. That's going to impact everything from trans continental 747 captains to weekend skydive pilots.

    Professional aviation is a field that ebbs and flows quite a bit. Timing is critical when deciding to go into the field and now is definitely not the time.
     
  12. p1l0t

    p1l0t Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah but does she have a driver's license doe?

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
     
  13. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Wouldn't make a difference assuming respecting the letter and intent of the law was important to her.
     
  14. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    They didn't ask me if I had a history of suicide attempts on my interviews.
     
  15. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Flying can be an extremely challenging career even without an adverse medical history with a lot of speed bumps along the way, especially as we have seen recently with the coronavirus crisis. You might consider an aviation-related career in a nonflying capacity, at least to start off with. There are a lot to choose from. I don't think it's necessary to give up your dream, but be pragmatic. It might be necessary to put it on the back burner.
     
  16. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In all candor, I would wait.

    As far as certification, I've read around here that the "successful-life test" counts for something when evaluating previous psych issues; but I don't think three years during which the candidate was still medicated is quite what they have in mind. I'm not a doctor, much less an AME; but my hunch based on reading these fora is that your odds of getting approved would be zero right now. So don't fill out any forms.

    More importantly, however, I just wouldn't want you to make the wrong decision, either financially or in terms of, well, your survival.

    If you were my daughter or granddaughter, I'd suggest that you wait until you're off the meds and see how things go for at least a year or so. I think that would be the most advisable thing both in terms of your safety and your certification odds.

    By the way, I personally don't assume that anything an adolescent girl (or boy) went through is necessarily indicative of a lifelong problem. I know many people who were really messed-up kids, but who basically outgrew their problems and turned out just fine as adults. But I also know some who didn't. It's not something that can be easily predicted.

    If you do want to talk to a HIMS AME, I suggest just getting a consultation. Don't fill out any forms. You don't want to do that until you're as certain as possible that you'll be approved. Right now, because of your history and because you're still on meds, the chances of that are roughly zilch; and I think that will continue to be the case for some time after you stop taking them. So talk all you want and can afford to pay for; but don't fill out any forms.

    Rich

    PS: Don't fill out any forms.
     
  17. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A suicide attempt is grounding for TEN years.
    The ten years after must be well documented:
    Successful life test
    No meds
    No events
     
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  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    In the first post, @Abigail Watson said her last attempt was March 2017. Per the info above, she must wait until 2027 before applying for a medical?
     
  19. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Sounds like it will be at least that long before a medical is issued.
     
  20. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    That is why I am asking for clarification from Dr. Bruce. The way he wrote his response, it's 100% clear if the airmen already possessed a medical. I wanted to make sure how it worked for an initial applicant.

    In a post from Dr. Lou in a different thread, he said issuance is possible, but he didn't provide any details beyond the AME guide. Suicide Attempt
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020 at 7:42 AM
  21. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There was not one "gesture" but there were several attempts, per the O.P.

    ...And only if the intervening ten years has well documented:
    successful life test
    no events
    no meds
    One cannot just disappear from the planet and reappear in 2027.
    ...I though I said this a couple of day ago. Re-asking doesn't make it go away...
     
  22. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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  23. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Glenn B, my PMs are "turned off" due to incessant abuse. use the window on my website (see byline).
     
  24. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    Copy that, Doc. It was really meant for someone else but I wasn't clear. And BTW, I appreciate all you do to help pilots. Glenn