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The Astronomy for Mental Health project explores how astronomy can help improve the mental well-being of vulnerable groups by focusing on the importance of mental health for development, inspirational potential of astronomy knowledge and tools, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
In collaboration with astronomers, psychologists, mental health professionals, social workers and other specialists, the project aims to:
- Explore the potential of specific astronomy topics and co-design activities
- Develop assessment tools and gather data for improving interventions
- Tailor activities for the needs of different groups
- Develop a Mental Health Guideline to assist others in planning and running interventions
So far, pilot activities have been conducted in Armenia, Spain, and South Africa.
Armenia: In collaboration with a psychologist, an educational project was organized at a children’s support center. The team observed improvement in mental well-being, change of perception, an unusual level of tolerance and a sense of interpersonal values.
Spain: Astronomy talks and a psychological survey were organized for elderly people. The psychological survey and the general motivation test showed a high level of satisfaction and a positive impact on self-esteem and emotions.
South Africa: Workshop for the Cape Town Community Mental Health and Psychiatry Foundation was organized to demonstrate the potential of astronomy for mental well-being. The team is working towards creating tailored activities in consultation with an occupational therapist and clinical psychologist.
The project team have launched the ‘Astronomy for Mental Health’ guidelines to support others around the world in running similar interventions. Everyone is invited to read and comment on the guidelines that are available as a downloadable google document.
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