OAD Fellow Dominic Vertue and past Fellow Sandra Benitez have published an article in the CAP Journal on guidelines for applying astronomy to benefit mental well-being.
Astronomy, with its vast array of tools and resources, can greatly benefit society. One area in need of new approaches and interventions is mental health and well-being. Diminished mental health can have a profound effect on society, from financial to loss of human potential. The OAD is exploring how astronomy can play a role in improving mental health and well-being. As part of its project on astronomy for mental health, the OAD is creating and publishing resources for astronomers, educators, science communicators, and others who may benefit from using astronomy in their activities.
One of the key resources being developed is the Astronomy for Mental Health Guidelines. This open-access document provides practical steps, tools, resources, and examples for planning, adapting or reviewing programmes or interventions targeting mental health and well-being. This article will provide the background and context to the problem of mental health, motivations for using astronomy such as the shortfall in global mental healthcare services, a brief summary of the Guidelines and access to the Guidelines online.
The article is published in Issue 32 of the Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Journal, a free, peer-reviewed journal on astronomy communication published by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach.