Andres Estepa, 2024

Addressing Mental Health in Aviation

Working Draft By BCIT Student Graduation Project – Do Not Cite


As the demand for air travel continues to grow, so too does the pressure on aviation professionals. Pilots, air traffic controllers, ground crew, and other personnel face unique stressors that can significantly impact their mental well-being. On this page, we are dedicated to understanding and addressing the mental health crisis within the aviation industry in British Columbia.

Understanding the Crisis

The aviation industry in British Columbia is currently grappling with a severe shortage of workers, exacerbating existing challenges related to employee retention and job satisfaction. Long hours, irregular schedules, high-pressure environments, and stringent safety regulations contribute to elevated levels of stress and anxiety among aviation professionals. This can further exacerbate the overall Human Resources crisis as employees perform poorly under these potential conditions or leave altogether. 

The Impact on Mental Health

The demanding nature of aviation work has proven that it can lead to various mental health issues, including burnout, anxiety, and depression. Left unaddressed, these issues not only harm individual employees but also pose significant risks to the safety and efficiency of air travel operations.

Suggestions for Improvement

Addressing the mental health crisis in aviation requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes the well-being of employees. Here are some suggestions and ideas that companies can start implementing:

Implement Mental Health Awareness Training: Provide comprehensive training programs to educate employees and management about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. Encourage open dialogue and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.

Promote Work-Life Balance: Develop policies that support work-life balance, such as flexible scheduling, adequate rest periods between shifts, and opportunities for telecommuting where feasible. Encourage employees to take regular breaks and vacations to recharge.

Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Provide access to confidential counselling services, support hotlines, and resources to help employees cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Ensure that EAPs are widely promoted and easily accessible.

Foster a Supportive Work Environment: Create a culture of support where employees feel valued, respected, and supported by their colleagues and supervisors. Encourage teamwork, empathy, and mutual understanding.

Provide Stress Management Resources: Offer workshops, seminars, and resources on stress management techniques, mindfulness, relaxation exercises, and coping strategies. Empower employees with the tools they need to manage stress effectively.

Regular Check-Ins and Feedback: Conduct regular check-ins with employees to assess their well-being and solicit feedback on ways to improve working conditions. Actively listen to concerns and take proactive steps to address issues as they arise.

Prioritize Safety and Risk Management: Emphasize the importance of safety protocols, risk management strategies, and clear communication channels to prevent accidents, errors, and incidents that can contribute to stress and anxiety.


Addressing the mental health crisis in the aviation industry is not only a moral imperative but also essential for ensuring the safety, productivity, and sustainability of air travel operations. By implementing proactive measures to support the mental well-being of employees, companies can create healthier, happier, and more resilient workforces.

More Resources for Information and Support:

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)


Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

Verified by ExactMetrics