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Mental Illness and Mental Load

Focus Analysis 2011

The analyses in this area deal with two topics: 1. Mental illnesses and 2. Mental loads working world

The analysis analyses different aspects of the two topics:

  • Incapacity for work and early retirement: How is the development of incapacity for work in the years 2008 to 2011 as a result of mental illness characterised - also in comparison to other selected diagnosis groups? Is the trend also reflected in early retirement?
  • Work requirements, resources and problems: How are the mental work requirements of the working population perceived? What effects does a lack of resources have? What health problems are related to these requirements and resources? Data from the BIBB/BAuA employment surveys in 2006 and 2012 are analysed in regard to this complex.
  • Activities to protect against mental load: what efforts are currently being undertaken at various levels in order to promote a broader, adequate consideration of mental load in occupational safety and health?


The increasing spread of mental illnesses and the increase in early retirement due to mental disorders have long been the subject of public and political discussions. The increasing mental load in the working world is almost always referred to in this context. This has indeed increased considerably in recent decades. Mental diseases are not exclusively due to mental strain, but can also have other causes. Moreover, mental load occurs not only in the working world. In addition, mental load can also have other consequences than mental disorders, such as cardiovascular or musculoskeletal disorders.

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