Uploaded on October 25, 2022
How can being in space affect an astronaut's mental health?
2022-10-25 – European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti addresses how being in space can affect astronauts’ mental wellbeing and how it can sometimes be challenging.
Samantha answered a series of questions related to mental health while aboard the International Space Station in support of the CSA’s Space Brain Hack.
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, NASA)
In general, being in space has a positive effect on the emotional wellbeing and the mental health of astronauts.
After all, we are experiencing something that we all have looked forward for a long time, that we have desired, that we have trained for.
Being in space is something that we love, and I think by serving as crew members on the Space Station, we get a sense of meaning and a sense of mastery, all those components that really affect positively one’s mental health.
We have meaningful relationships among ourselves and with the extended teams on the ground.
In most cases, I think crew members have a great deal of respect and affection for the other crew members, and again, that helps sustain a positive relationship in which we can find support and comfort in others.
Of course, potentially, there can be challenges.
You know, if we miss our families and friends, which of course we do, that can be a challenge.
You can have a feeling that, you know, you’re missing important events on the ground.
There can be challenges in the relationships occasionally.
But I would say, overall, the balance is quite positive.
I think you will have a hard time finding a working environment that is so positive overall as being part of the human space flight community in general and serving as a crewmember on the International Space Station specifically.