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Mental Illness and Mental Load

Focus Analysis 2011

The analyses in this area deal with two topics: mental illnesses and mental loads in the working world

The analysis examines 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 does working population perceive the mental work requirements? 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 with regard to this complex.
  • Activities to protect against risks from 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. Due to a considerable increase in recent decades, the mental load in the working world is almost always referred to in this context. 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. Further, it can also have other consequences than mental disorders, such as cardiovascular or musculoskeletal diseases.

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