Among media accounts of Andreas Lubitz's "illness," The Wall Street Journal has been cautious. In their account, William Boston and Andrea Thomas refer to it as a "medical condition," without providing other details.
However, much of the other coverage by media outlets such as the New York Post associates mental illness, more specifically clinical depression, with Lubitz. In a world already jittery about violence from terrorists, this suspicion that the co-pilot was disabled could trigger extreme caution by employers around the world.
Of course, there has long been a stigma about mental illness. That's despite the reality that it is a relatively common condition. According to the Kim Foundation, in the U.S.:
"An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year."
Sure, in the U.S., there is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to protect those with this disability. But, organizations have become skilled at screening out the disabled, while documenting that they are on the right side of the law.
Post-Lubitz, can a bout of clinical depression deliver a hit to one's personal branding in the workplace? Reasonable professionals can anticipate that. The era of "sharing" about one's struggle with clinical depression or other mood disorders has ended. Extreme privacy seems to be the best policy, at least for now.