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Routine mental health diagnoses no longer require automatic review by the FAA for any class of pilot certificate as long as certain criteria are met. The agency has revised its guidance to AMEs on “uncomplicated anxiety, depression and related conditions” and chief among the changes is that the FAA can be left out of the process if there are no issues raised by a questionnaire and the AME has no concerns. That also means the pilot can seek treatment under most circumstances without it being flagged for the FAA.

The questionnaire deals with serious mental health issues like suicidal thoughts, self harm and whether or not the pilot has been hospitalized or been under court ordered evaluation and it reminds the AME to be thorough and conservative in his or her judgment. “If ALL items fall into the “NO”/CLEAR COLUMN, the AME may issue with notes in Block 60 which show the AME discussed the history of Uncomplicated Anxiety, Depression, and Related Conditions, found no positives to the screening questions, AND had no concerns,” the new guidance reads. “If ANY SINGLE ITEM falls into the “YES”/SHADED COLUMN, the AME MUST DEFER (emphasis the FAA’s)”.

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