– March 27, 2017
Astronauts are supposed to have “the right stuff”. They go through rigorous, unimaginable training to test their brain capacity, wit, and resilience to the maximum. Astronauts are geniuses of their own rights, skilled in math, physics, and other specialties. Taking on the responsibility of space travel is immense. Rather than traveling around the world for work, and astronaut travels out of this world, quite literally, to do their jobs. Floating in the dangerous mystery of space light years away from everything comfortable and familiar takes a mental toll. Mental health conditions are usually a red flag for astronauts, yet they commonly develop once in outer space. Some psychologists have written about the “alien syndrome” many astronauts experience after spending time in space and coming back to earth. Understandably, their perspectives on what matters, and what doesn’t matter, is wildly different.
To date, there have been no major mental health emergencies to take place in space, according to Scientific American. However, there have been signs of distress and behavioral issues which reportedly have caused missions to end early and created close calls. One story outlines the way the brevity of the reality of space can alter the mind, for example, opening a hatch and letting all the air out of the space ship. Astronauts are under a tremendous amount of stress during their missions, the article explains. “…Crew members endure major disruptions to human physiology, including sleep changes, radiation exposure, and gravity shifts. The live in confined environments with limited social interactions and at long distances from home. Meanwhile, their work is high-stakes and under intense public scrutiny.”
NASA is taking more measures to protect the mental wellbeing of their astronauts, especially after the public outcry of a former NASA flight surgeon who stated that “Nasa tends to deny behavioral issues are a big problem for astronauts.”
Problematically, astronauts are driven to succeed. It takes a lifetime of work and commitment to become a NASA astronaut. Hiding mental health problems and any signs of distress is a way to ensure their professionalism and standing within the program Through NASA supports supporting mental health, the organization clearly has to take serious measure to ensure the safety of their astronauts, space ships, and missions.
Living with mental health conditions is something that anybody can have to endure. There is no shame in admitting you need help during a difficult time in your life. If you are struggling to keep up and need treatment, call Get Real Recovery today. 866-983-3651.