What is mental health?

Mental health is an integral part of an individual’s general health. Just like the concept of health, it is more than the absence of infirmity. It is in fact the reflection of an individual’s well-being which allows them to realise their own abilities, to cope with the stresses of life, to work productively and to make a contribution to their communities.

Work and mental health

Five of the 10 leading causes for disability worldwide are related to mental health issues (acute depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder).

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Workplace violence

Workplace violence refers to any act where individuals are subject to abuse, threats or assault at the workplace. These acts may involve an explicit or implicit risk to the well-being and health of the victim.

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What can affect mental health?

Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of a person’s mental health. For example, persistent socio-economic pressures are recognised risks to mental health for individuals and communities. The clearest evidence is associated with indicators of poverty, including low levels of education.
Poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, violence or the risk of violence and physical ill-health.

Women are exposed to a great number of risks to their mental health, including the fact that they have to shoulder a double burden, are overrepresented in jobs with precarious working conditions and are more likely to suffer from discrimination and violence.

Finally, psychological and personality factors make certain individuals more vulnerable to mental disorders.
Individuals may also have a genetic or biological predisposition to mental disorders.