What is mental health

Terms A-Z

Almost every third person will suffer from a mental illness that requires treatment in the course of their life. Around ten percent of the days of absence among working people can be traced back to mental illnesses. Depression, alcoholism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are among the most common diseases worldwide. In the last ten years in particular, mental illnesses have made up an ever larger share in the diagnosis and treatment spectrum in Germany. The reasons for this are complex and are currently being discussed intensively by epidemiologists.

In order to improve the data base on the mental health of the population, the Federal Ministry of Health has funded an extensive additional survey on mental health as part of the study by the Robert Koch Institute on Adult Health in Germany (DEGS). In addition to a differentiated recording of mental disorders, information should also be obtained on the use of facilities in the care system. The data from the survey phase are currently being evaluated.

The increased demand for psychiatric and psychotherapeutic health services associated with the epidemiological trend poses major challenges for the health care system and social insurance. Well-founded scientific knowledge is required for the effective and future-proof design of the complex supply process. Therefore, mental illnesses are also the subject of many funding priorities in the federal government's health research program.

As the number of diagnosed and treated mental illnesses increases, so too does the importance of prevention and health promotion in this area. Mental health is primarily promoted where people live together, i.e. in families, in day-care centers and schools, at work or in senior citizens' homes. Accordingly, promoting mental health and preventing mental disorders is a cross-policy task that affects all areas of society.

Even today, mental illnesses are taboo in many places. In parts of the population, they trigger uncertainty and fears. Accordingly, those affected perceive themselves as stigmatized and excluded. Such a social climate characterized by fear and taboos when dealing with mental illnesses stands in the way of using preventive potential. In this sense, prevention and health promotion are closely linked to the problem of the stigmatization of mental illness. The Federal Ministry of Health therefore promotes education of the public about the nature and treatability of mental illnesses and advocates the protection of those affected from stigmatization and exclusion.

To this end, it promotes a wide range of measures, including the Alliance for Mental Health. The alliance is committed to population-wide education and information about mental health and against the stigmatization of mental illnesses. To this end, it networks nationwide and regional initiatives and implements its own projects in cooperation with its alliance partners. Over 70 organizations, associations and institutions are now taking part nationwide.

More information can be found on the Internet at www.seelischegesundheit.net.

"Quality of Therapeutic Relationship" (APK Volume 4)

The quality of the therapeutic relationship is of particular importance in psychiatric treatment and assistance with participation. The specialist articles in this volume (PDF file - not barrier-free, 5.32 MB) of the "Aktion Mentally Ill" thematize criteria of good relationship quality and optimization options from the perspectives of various experts from science, medical care and politics.