EASA writes the following in GM1 CAT.GEN.MPA215:
"A support programme is a proactive programme applying the principles of "just culture" as defined in Regulation (EU) No 376/2014, whereby the senior management of the operator, mental health professionals, trained peers, and in many cases representative organisations of crew members work together to enable self-declaration, referral, advice, counselling and/or treatment, where necessary in case of a decrease in mental fitness".
EASA further states:
"....involvement of persons with appropriate expertise when advising crews (for example, pilot peers with similar cultural backgrounds and professional staff with appropriate training in e.g. psychology, etc.)"
The AMC4 CAT.GEN.MPA.215 states:
".... Professionals, including mental and psychological health professionals, as well as trained peers, where trained peers are available, that are involved in the support programme, should receive initial and recurrent training related to their role and function within the support programme".
A Pilot Peer Support programme (PPSP) can be defined as a structure which enables a pilot or crewmember to receive confidential advice or counselling with mental health or problems related to life stress. Either for him/herself or for a colleague. Confidentiality is of course essential in this regard.
Peer pilots are at the heart of the programme: ordinary line pilots who are trained in empathetic listening and counselling techniques. This also includes pilots who have extensive knowledge about company structures and policies and that are qualified to help other pilots solve their problems. These peers must have received training (initial and recurrent) so they possess the competencies needed for the role. It is equally required that a trained peer pilot has immediate access to support and guidance from a qualified Mental Health Professional (MHP), who might have experience from the aviation industry or similar job functions.