Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.


International Pilot Peer Assistance Coalition

A Peer Assistance Network (PAN) New Zealand team recently joined international colleagues in Texas to discuss best practice in peer to peer support. 

PAN NZ Co-ordinators Herwin Bongers and Mark Mehlhopt, PAN Co-ordinator and Women’s Assist Lead Janet Taylor, and NZALPA’s Medical and Welfare Director Andy Pender were hosted at the International Pilot Peer Assistance Coalition (IPPAC) conference by the American Airlines Peer Assistance Team – Project Wingman.

IPPAC was formed in 2018 to bring together the many programmes working independently worldwide and to increase awareness, education and collaboration.

Conference delegates were briefed on: 

• The impending crisis of mental health issues correlated to the mounting pressures of aviation – no-one is immune. 

• The latest mental health findings on stress and addictions. There are plenty of ways to “inoculate” from the effects of mental health stressors and these must be investigated early on. 

• Best practice forms of assistance. When help is necessary, the tools to offer that help need to be in place already and easy to access. This is where PAN NZ is so far ahead of the game. 

Project Wingman director, A320 Captain Charlie Curreri assembled the who’s who of addiction support and suicide prevention including Dr Patrick Carnesa and Dr Sally Spencer-Thomas to speak at the conference. 

Having colleagues from the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (Welfare Director Matt O’Keefe and Peer Supporter Troy O’Toole) in Texas as well helped to further cement trans-Tasman ties, ensuring NZALPA members are covered from a PAN and Critical Incident Response Programme (CIRP) perspective on both sides of the Tasman; seamless coverage that NZALPA has used on many occasions. 

NZALPA’s attendance at the IPPAC conference is very valuable for an organisation such as NZALPA, which has already experienced member suicide through workplace stressrelated issues. We know how severe the impact can be and the more knowledge and resources we have, the better equipped NZALPA is to support its members. 

The www.pan.org.nz website has plenty of resources, but if members out there reading this do nothing else, try the link here www.mantherapy.org for an amusing self-check. If you find the result is something that could do with some help, PAN is a good place to start. PAN also has the Women’s Assistance Forum (WAF) for more specific help for women.

L-R: Troy O’Toole (AFAP), Herwin Bongers (PAN), Matt O’Keefe (AFAP), Janet Taylor (PAN WAF), Charlie Curreri (American Airlines Project Wingman), Mark Mehlhopt (PAN) and Andy Pender (NZALPA Medical and Welfare Director).



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