More in Singapore seeking treatment for fear of flying after SQ321 turbulence incident


DO NOT MINIMIZE FEARS

Since the two turbulence incidents, aviation experts have maintained that turbulence causing serious injuries and deaths is extremely rare.

Meanwhile, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association, 2023 ranks among the safest years for aviation. Only one of the approximately 37 million flights caused fatalities.

Still, this is not enough for some to regain confidence in flying.

Therapists like Siti Mariam affirm that this illness can be overcome. They use various techniques, such as talking about fear and even using art to help clients deal with their phobia.

Siti, lead therapist at Private Space Medical, said aerophobia sufferers can experience symptoms even just by listening to conversations about travel.

“If you know someone who may have aerophobia, the last thing you want to do is minimize their fears,” he added.

“I think it’s better to just be present, just listen and hear how it’s affecting them and how they’re trying to manage it and cope.”

Dr. Kang suggested relaxation strategies, as well as breathing exercises and distraction techniques.

“But if these fears are much more frequent and one is experiencing maladaptive thoughts (they believe in the catastrophe, they believe in the overestimation of danger), they probably need more than quick fixes,” he said.

Siti said professional mental health support could also help, but cautioned that social support is still important even with professional help.

“Be understanding and give them space if you can; Give them that space to be able to talk, or even if they don’t want to talk, just stay with them,” he added.

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