Work, mental health and cognitive performance
Mental health in the working environment is becoming an increasingly important subject and is now discussed as a key dimension of occupational safety and health protection.
This growing prominence is down to various developments: on the one hand, there are an increasing number of diagnoses in the area of mental and behavioural disorders. This relates to both the number of sick days and the number of individuals entering early retirement. On the other hand, mental demands at work are evolving due to the changing working environment. There are a growing number of activities that involve cognitive, information-processing or emotional requirements. Workers themselves are also experiencing an increase in mental load.
Humane work design helps to prevent mental health issues and preserves mental health and performance. This area is therefore becoming one of the key challenges for occupational safety and health protection.
One of the important tasks for the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is therefore to identify gaps in knowledge and to close these gaps by initiating research. This is precisely the aim of BAuA's project "Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence", which summarises current knowledge of psychological factors relating to working conditions and, at the same time, examines whether the available knowledge is relevant and applicable to the changing working environment. In the process, it addresses the question whether and how factors relating to the working environment - such as noise - affect work in modern workplaces.
Another important starting point is the concept of mental health as an individual resource for the private and working environment. In this area, particular importance is attached to cognitive performance with a view to maintaining working capacity over the course of working life. In other research activities, BAuA focuses on clarifying which factors affect mental health in the working environment and which protective factors and resources are beneficial for mental health and cognitive performance.
BAuA's combined research activities aim to support the public and political discussion by providing reliable scientific knowledge. On this basis, the institute contributes to providing accurate information to the public.