Navigation and service

Mental Health

Mental health and how to maintain it over the long term

Protecting mental health has a high priority in the contemporary world of work. With its research activities, BAuA contributes to the objectification of public and policy discussions about this goal. It provides evidence-based findings on the work-related factors that influence mental health, as well as initiates further research. As a departmental research institution within the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, BAuA is also contributing to the “Mental Health Offensive” (Offensive Psychische Gesundheit).

Employee smiles satisfied. © iStock | FangXiaNuo

The increased attention currently being paid to mental workload in the world of work is attributable to a variety of developments. Firstly, the number of people being diagnosed with mental disorders is going up. This is shown by statistics on sickness absence and disability pensions. Secondly, the psychosocial demands that workers are exposed to have changed as work evolves. For instance, knowledge work is becoming more widespread and entails increasingly high cognitive challenges due to the growing quantities of information being generated by the advance of digitalisation. The proportion of the population employed in the service sector is rising too: more and more people are carrying out tasks that impose high emotional demands and having to interact with customers or patients in their day-to-day work.

At a time when SARS-CoV-2 is dominating the headlines, workers’ mental workload has come to be a topic of even greater significance due to the profound changes being driven by the pandemic, including those that affect the organisation of work, working time patterns, and the ways employees communicate and cooperate. It is consequently one of the issues dealt with in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety and health rule (SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzregel).

Against this background, the “Mental Health Offensive” launched jointly by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS), the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG), and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) is addressing a highly topical matter. The Offensive is intended to develop an inter-ministerial mental health strategy that takes account of the various aspects of individuals’ areas of life and how they interact. As one of the first organisations to be involved, BAuA is actively taking part in the Offensive and feeding its research findings into the efforts that are being made.
BAuA previously drew together the knowledge available about the work-related factors that influence mental health in its project “Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence”. The gaps identified in what was known about the subject prompted the initiation of a whole series of practically oriented research projects, for example on the effects of rest breaks and healthy leadership.

Apart from this, with its research focus on mental health and cognitive performance, BAuA has devoted itself to finding out which factors impair mental health in the world of work, as well as what resources and other protective factors promote mental health and cognitive performance today, and will continue to deliver benefits in future.
Furthermore, BAuA provides information about preventive work design. Human-centred approaches to designing work help not only to avert mental impairments caused by work but also maintain people's mental health. One of the foundations for this is psychosocial risk assessment. BAuA has also been making important contributions to the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (Gemeinsame Deutsche Arbeitsschutzstrategie, GDA) with the activities it conducts on mental workload as a facet of occupational safety and health.

Publications

BAuA's contribution to the Mental Health Offensive

Job Control at Work

The job characteristic "job control" comprises the employee's possibilities to influence how they organize and perform their tasks. This is of central significance for mental health. Numerous studies have shown that too little job control is associated with several health impairments.

More: Job Control at Work …

Rest Breaks and Recovery

Recovery serves to restore depleted resources of physical and mental energy. It is essential to reduce the negative effects of heavy workloads.

More: Rest Breaks and Recovery …

Work Intensity

The contemporary world of work confronts employees with various demands that are intensifying "traditional" forms of mental load or giving rise to new forms as well. Information overload and time and performance pressure are significant issues that are relevant to employees’ health, which have to be addressed by both organisations and individuals.

More: Work Intensity …

Working Time

Working outside the "normal" hours of the standard working day can impact on employees' mental and physical health over the short and long term. Work rosters should therefore allow individuals enough convenient free time for them to recover and sleep, enjoy family life and pursue other interests.

More: Working Time …

Leadership and Collaborative Working

The impact of managers' leadership style and their power to shape working conditions give them a vital influence over employee health and well-being. Managers provide key resources, such as social support, which is particularly important in view of its stress-mitigating effects.

More: Leadership and Collaborative Working …

People and Technology

The increasing digitalisation of work systems is opening up numerous opportunities for work design to offer employees context-sensitive support. Various issues require attention, including excessively tight technological coupling and the effects of monitoring.

More: People and Technology …

Returning to Work after a Mental Health Crisis

Reintegration into the workplace enables an employee to participate in working life again after suffering a mental health crisis. A return to work strategy that fits into the organisation's health management system, and trusting cooperation between the employee and the actors who are looking after them increase the probability of a sustainable return to the workplace.

More: Returning to Work after a Mental Health Crisis …

Workplace Risk Assessment

Unfavourable psychosocial working conditions, such as high levels of time pressure or long working hours, affect employees across all sectors and in organisations of all sizes. Organisations are called upon to proactively reduce such risks. Workplace risk assessment helps them to do this.

More: Workplace Risk Assessment …

Further Information

Research Projects

Project numberF 2525 StatusOngoing Project Formative qualitative evaluation of an early intervention at the workplace (FRIAA) for employees with common mental disorders

Find out more : Formative qualitative evaluation of an early intervention at the workplace (FRIAA) for employees with common mental disorders …

Project numberF 2478 StatusOngoing Project Third wave of the longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA III)

Find out more : Third wave of the longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA III) …

Project numberF 2408 StatusCompleted Project Work and employment conditions as determinants of work engagement and its association with mental health and work ability

Find out more : Work and employment conditions as determinants of work engagement and its association with mental health and work ability …

Project numberF 2407 StatusCompleted Project Interaction effects of psychosocial occupational factors on mental health: cross sectional analyses of S-MGA-data and longitudinal analyses of lidA-data

Find out more : Interaction effects of psychosocial occupational factors on mental health: cross sectional analyses of S-MGA-data and longitudinal analyses of lidA-data …

Project numberF 2402 StatusCompleted Project Experimental studies on the development of continuous neuronal mental workload registration for field use

Find out more : Experimental studies on the development of continuous neuronal mental workload registration for field use …

Project numberF 2384 StatusCompleted Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 1: Preparation of questionnaire and conduction of the second wave of S-MGA II

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 1: Preparation of questionnaire and conduction of the second wave of S-MGA II …

Project numberF 2460 StatusOngoing Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 2: Longitudinal associations between working and employment conditions, burnout and depressive symptoms

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 2: Longitudinal associations between working and employment conditions, burnout and depressive symptoms …

Project numberF 2461 StatusOngoing Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 3: Longitudinal associations between work and well-being

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 3: Longitudinal associations between work and well-being …

Project numberF 2462 StatusOngoing Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 4: Mental health and work participation

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 4: Mental health and work participation …

Project numberF 2318 StatusCompleted Project Depression, burnout and cognitive deficits - studies on the influence of work-related and individual determinants

Find out more : Depression, burnout and cognitive deficits - studies on the influence of work-related and individual determinants …

Project numberF 2312 StatusCompleted Project Psychophysiological investigations on changes of cognitive capacities during working life under consideration of individual cognitive reserves

Find out more : Psychophysiological investigations on changes of cognitive capacities during working life under consideration of individual cognitive reserves …

Project numberF 2283 StatusCompleted Project Effect of psychological stress at the workplace on "Neuroenhancement" - empirical studies on employees

Find out more : Effect of psychological stress at the workplace on "Neuroenhancement" - empirical studies on employees …

Project numberF 2264 StatusCompleted Project Systematic reviews on the topic "mental health/cognitive capacity in the world of work"

Find out more : Systematic reviews on the topic "mental health/cognitive capacity in the world of work" …

Publications

No hits

No suitable search results?

Cookies help us to provide our services. By using our website you agree that we can use cookies. Read more about our Privacy Policy and visit the following link: Privacy Policy

OK