I’ll try to make it not too long but detailed enough for people to know what happens behind Emirate’s “welfare”.
First of all, Emirates employees don’t have access to a private health insurance being subdue to company’s clinic and their General Practicioners. If you need to see a specialist you have to go to the one they refer you to, wether you like it or not. If it’s not working and you’d like to see another doctor, well, good luck with that.
I joined Emirates when I was 21 and I had little on my pockets but was full of dreams and determination. Not even 1 year in the company I started to feel down. The things that annoyed me a little in the beginning started to add up quickly and became major issues. I also soon found out that an abnormal number of the staff is severely depressed and/or alcoholic. With the lifestyle provided by the poor work conditions in this airline it is really not surprising.
I started to feel empty and sad the whole time and tired, really tired. I was oversleeping and overeating and my whole body system was going downhill and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I was in a sleeping-and-going-to-work cycle, I spent almost my entire spare time sleeping and sometimes I even took sleeping tablet merely cuz I didn’t see the point in staying up. I went to see a doctor at EK clinic and he immediatly recognized that I was depressed and suggested me to see a shrink. I was prescribed antidepressants which takes you out of the roster for a while – long enough to break any changes of an upgrade because you acquire too many sick days. It was a long going back and forth to the clinc, to the shrink: change of medication, sick leave, theraphy.
At this point I don’t think it is necessary to detail how I felt. Depression is too easy to judge but only who has been through it knows what it feels like.
It is important to stress that nothing goes confidential in the airline and that suicide is ilegal in the country. When you join Emirates you are to state if you had depression before. I ticked the box that said I didn’t. In fact I have never been diagnosed with depression even though I did mention to my shrink that I have felt similar to that before. Of course he mentioned that in his report and of course Emirates knew about it.
I must say this very one doctor that left EK clinic for feeling his hand were tied the whole time – and therefore I will preserve his identification – called me and warned me that they would push me to resign, he asked me to come to the clinic before opening hours because, of course, all appointments were taken. Early in the morning he showed me an e-mail he received from the doctor responsible for the clinic saying that I lied about having depression and that they don’t take cabin crew with history of depression. They were trying to get me to confess that I lied about a pre-existing condition and by doing so they could terminate my contract.
Dr A (as I’ll refer to him from now on) was a kind soul, a good doctor and he couldn’t diggest Emirate’s policy of neglecting proper medical care to its employees. He wrote to the doctor atesting that I have not being diagnosed with depression before and that I was seing a psychiatrist that said I was responding to the treatment. Not being thoroughly convinced, the doctor in charge demanded that I saw an aviation psychiatrist in Abu Dhabi and I would have to pay the consultation from own pocket and so the transportation. I am ever so grateful to Miss Mirjana who work for the Employee Assistance Program – she used to be cabin crew and she knew what it is likely; mostly likely she knew what she could report from what you told her. Mirjana drove me with her own car without taking any money from me all the way to Abu Dhabi and back, she accompanied me to the doctor and she offered me therapy sessions with her which definetly have helped. If I haven’t came across her and Doctor A I honestly don’t think I would have managed to overcome Emirates trying to force me to resign.
There is much about depression that goes unmentioned in this company. The reason I concluded they don’t accept people with history of depression is because they know the already huge number of depressive crew who are put out of the roster, who resign or who suicide and they can’t afford to have people with feelings and problems, they want robots or happy-sappy 21 years young who believe it is a great place to be. They undercover all story of suicide. I would like to see statistics and facts about Emirates employees who have been through depression and the ones who lost the battle against it while in Emirates.
One of the times I discussed possible treatments after a few pills that didn’t result in positive effetcs I was seriously recommended to undergo ECT and that Emirates would not pay for it and mostly likely not keep me in the job. I won’t go into the controversials of ECT, I just want to highlight I was recommended to go through it on my own: the company that was suposed to spounsor me was leaving me to my own lucky not caring about my conditions to afford something like that, to find another job, wether I could go back to where I come from or not and nonethless for my health.
I do give Dragana the permission and encouragement to make my story public. “Truth is a daughter of time” and Emirates Airline labour practices must be known.“
February 20, 2015
Confession of one depressed Emirates cabin crew
One female Emirates cabin crew committed suicide a few days ago in Emirates accommodation. Out of respect towards her and her family we will not write about her case and the reasons why she did it, but here is a story of another former cabin crew which perfectly explains how depressed EK cabin crew are and how nobody takes proper care of them except few individuals from medical profession who often don’t follow company’s rules in order to help their patients.
This girl was being forced to resign due to her condition. This is her confession on how she went through that and how she fought her way through cruel and inhumane system.