Sensitive Employment Evaluations: 93% of Naval Aviation Personnel Receiving Mental Health Treatment Return to Flight Status


Chee, S. M., & De Cecchis, D. P. (2017). Sensitive employment evaluations: 93% of naval aviation personnel receiving mental health treatment return to flight status. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 43, 26–30.


Mental health professionals and patients in sensitive employment situations, such as aviators, police officers, national security personnel, and surgeons, worry about the potential consequences of a psychiatric diagnosis and psychological treatment. Such “fitness for duty” evaluations are examples of mixed or dual agency clinical work. Using data about military aviators as an example, this project found that over 93% of the personnel who received mental health care received a medical recommendation (or “waiver”) to return to flying. Research with civilian aviators shows that 98% are granted approval to return to flying.


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