Sometimes, it's just a cigar

This is our truth, tell us yours

False correlations

Trigger warning; this post concerns self harm and mental health issues.

The GermanWings plane crash has provoked an enormous amount of speculation about the diagnosis of the pilot responsible for the accident, and other issues that ill-informed commentators think might be relevant.

I have dealt with colleagues who have experienced depression; I have line managed individuals who have experienced depression, and I have experienced depression.

I have never seen any examples of individuals who are depressed wishing to commit mass murder, and I have never seen any evidence of a coincidence of incidences of depression and the desire to commit mass murder.

Suicidal ideation is a part of depression, of course, but that ideation is about the means by which an individual might kill themselves, not about a desire to kill others.

The idea that there is a correlation between a diagnosis of depression, and mass murder, is entirely unproven. The most likely explanation is that the diagnosis was incomplete, that the person responsible for this horror had another set of issues, not just depression.

We will never know, in all likelihood.

Engaging in debate now, around an incomplete diagnosis that does not explain the behaviour of the sufferer, is the worst kind of sidewalk diagnosis.


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This entry was posted on March 29, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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