Psychotherapist Gary Greenberg writes why psychiatry could not have prevented the German wings disaster. To name just a few reasons - nearly 1 in 3 Americans meet the criteria for a mental-disorder diagnosis in any year, and more than 50% of all Americans will qualify at some point in their lifetimes (and those rates are unlikely to be very different in Western Europe). Furthermore, mass murders and suicides like this event are far, far too complicated - in Greenberg's words, "they cannot be apprehended with the inexact instruments of diagnosis deployed by imperfect people like me." Our mental lives are far too copmlciated, for better or worse.
It is comforting to think that Lubitz was mentally ill. That would mean, among other things, that wise doctors could have figured out what the problem was and have fixed it, or at least they could identify it in other potential Lubitzes. But it is unlikely that even the best psychiatric evaluation would have prevented the Germanwings disaster. The depravity of the human heart cannot be contained in a vessel as flimsy as a psychiatric diagnosis.