July 26th marks the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and many communities around the country commemorate the passage by celebrating Disability Pride Month throughout July. This month gives us all an opportunity to celebrate people with disabilities, honor their inherent dignity and inalienable rights, promote their visibility, and applaud their achievements. At NGPA we are committed to acknowledging and supporting members living with or affected by a disability. Did you know that being a member of the NGPA means that you gain access to an array of mental and physical health benefits and services?
At NGPA we firmly believe that aviation is for everyone, regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, or disability. Although government restrictions and difficult, often confusing medical processes can be a real barrier to entry for many. As a member of our organization, there are many resources available to you if getting, keeping, or renewing a medical isn't going as planned.
To start, NGPA provides members with access to free medical counselors that can be reached at any time by emailing [email protected]. This team of volunteers is trained to answer your medical questions and provide support. This service is free, and of course confidential. If the team is unable to provide support they can help point you in the right direction.
In addition to the counselors, NGPA also provides free access to the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS). This program, which is also available through many pilot and ATC unions, is available to answer your tough medical questions. Navigate to the AMAS website here and be sure to select 'NGPA' under the organization tab. This website is also where you can find the list of approved medications by the FAA. NGPA has also compiled a list of resources for members on its website, at Medical - National Gay Pilots Association (ngpa.org).
If you or someone you know struggles with mental health, there are resources for that as well. Aviation as a whole has made some progress in mental health awareness and treatment, but as many of us know, there's a long way to still go. Through NGPA you can access NGPA Cares, a program meant to provide mental health support and referrals to those in need. To access the service:
Call or text (206) 973 0283 or reach them by email at [email protected]. Messages are typically returned within 3-5 business days.
By providing your contact information, you consent to allow the NGPA Cares Team to use this information to contact you. Any information provided will remain confidential. After you have reached out, the team at Emerald Health PLLC will provide you with a free one-hour consultation, and you can also gain access to four additional sessions at $68/session with mental health specialists. These specialists understand the unique challenges that pilots face when confronting mental health care and support.
Note that this service is not intended as a crisis line. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or access the Mental Health Support and Resources page.
This July, we acknowledge and honor our members living with disability both visible and invisible. Although it can seem like you may be alone in your medical struggle, NGPA hopes to provide meaningful and useful support to help keep you in the skies. Please visit our website for all available resources and as always, happy and safe flying!