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Even astronauts get the blues
Sun, 1st Nov 2009
FYI, this story is more than a year old

HEALTH Informatics Chairman Professor Jim Warren says a highlight from the organisation’s recent   conference was hearing from Harvard Medical School professor James Catreine, who works with NASA. He has developed a program to combat mental health issues that might crop up on the first manned mission to theplanet Mars.“The only health problem that’s got in the way of any space mission is mental health, in particular depression.  It’s stressful because they don’t get any sleep, it’s a physically demanding environment and it’s socially  demanding,” he explains. “They have to interact with the same people for extended periods. You can’t pop  outside; you have to stay in the capsule with them.” So Dr Catreine and his team at Harvard have come up with electronic tools that are designed to manage  conflict in the workplace, as well as depression. And because these career astronauts don’t want to admit to  social and psychological problems, they’ve encrypted the password so that NASA can’t snoop and find out who’s accessing what information. “What Jim’s doing for NASA is similar to what the National Coordinators for Depression here are doing with  websites like The Lowdown (for youth depression),” says Warren. “The technology is absolutely applicable to  the everyday person, we all have conflict at work, we all have the potential to depression and these technologies  are entirely amenable to be put on the web and used by anyone.”