Participation as a key goal

The world of work is changing: digitalisation and globalisation are constantly increasing the demands on workers and require maximum flexibility. What these developments ultimately mean for the individual is not yet fully clear. What is clear, however, is that the increasing interconnectedness of people and machines will fundamentally change the way we work and the associated mental stress. It is therefore all the more important that participation in working life remains a key goal for people with mental illness.

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A large part of society already works online today. An increasing number of work processes are digital and automated. At the same time, we live in a global knowledge society. The classical “normal working relationship” is being phased out and replaced by more flexible, individually adaptable working conditions.

When work makes you ill

Unlike in earlier days, work is now less bound by time and place and many activities can be performed anywhere and anytime. This flexibility does not only have positive effects. Although on the one hand it creates new possibilities to better balance and organise work, family and leisure, on the other it removes the clear separation between work and private life. The new level of reachability and availability increases the risk for mental illness. This risk is further increased by additional factors, for example the growing requirements and higher speed of work. Prevention of psychosocial illness risks at work is extremely important and is therefore one of the key fields of action of the DGPPN.

The positive effects of work

Work, however, is not just a risk factor. It also has a positive effect on the course of mental illnesses and the life situation of people with mental illness. A regular job brings structure to people’s days, allows people to belong and ensures their livelihood. Nevertheless, in Germany today people with severe mental illness are more often unemployed than others. The care and rehabilitation system is not yet set up in the way it would need to be to help them. The opportunities for occupational rehabilitation do not adequately reach the people in need, the system is complicated and confusing. Viable options to control the situation are lacking, particularly at the interface between acute treatment and rehabilitation. The DGPPN therefore campaigns to enable people with mental illness to participate in working life. 

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