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Understanding Mental Health

From the absence of psychological problems through to well-being

There are many different aspects hidden behind the phrase "mental health". This concept has its origins in documents from the WHO, which refers to an expanded understanding of the concept of health.

Today, mental health is understood not only as the absence of psychological impairments and problems, but also as the condition of complete well-being. The concept of "psychological health" is frequently used as a synonym for "mental health". Concepts of mental health include both individual factors, such as satisfaction and emotional states, as well as social aspects of the interaction between people and environment.

An extended understanding

An extended understanding of mental health includes the following basic assumptions:

  1. Mental health is a component of general health.
  2. Mental health is more than the absence of psychological impairments and problems (burnout, depression, impairments of cognitive performance, etc.). This means:
  3. Mental health includes positive aspects as well, such as well-being, job satisfaction, work engagement, and individual and work-related resources.
  4. The concept of mental health needs to be seen in connection with the dimensions of workability and functional capacity. They are a decisive precondition for participation in working life.

For research, this means understanding mental health as a complex. The use of different measuring instruments is necessary to examine the above-mentioned partial aspects.



Unit 3.4 "Mental Health and Cognitive Capacity"

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Nöldnerstr. 40-42 D-10317 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 231 9071-2071 Fax: +49 31 9071-2070

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