About us

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Psychiatry carries out research on social factors, which affect the onset, the clinical picture and the course of mental disorders and their consequences; also, the potential influence of such factors on coping strategies and help-seeking behaviour of persons affected by such disorders is studied. Thus, social psychiatry is an essential addition to the two other main types of psychiatry, i.e. biological and psychotherapeutic psychiatry. Using the metaphor of a PC one can say that biological psychiatry supposes the hardware to be not working correctly; psychotherapeutic psychiatry holds the view that the hardware is okay, but the PC is programmed incorrectly, whereas social psychiatry would deal with the fact that a computer is working in a certain environment and is connected with other computers in a network.

It is useful to conceive of the social environment as working on three levels: the microsocial level (e.g. family), the mesosocial (e.g. organisations) and the macrosocial level (e.g. cultural aspects, care system, stigma). Regarding the temporal aspect of the development of mental disorders the whole range from health promotion and mental disorder prevention to therapy, rehabilitation and reintegration is being dealt with.

Currently the main focus of the Institute is on multiannual projects, which deal with marginal and high-risk societal groups and analyse the respective care facilities. Currently specific topics are among others: financing and availability of care facilities, stigma, human rights, migration and suicidal behaviour. Quality of life as well as the perspective of service-users and their families are further topics being dealt with.

A large part of the scientific domain on which the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Psychiatry focuses, is internationally conceived as "Public Mental Health". With its foundation in 1977 the Institute has done pioneer work in this field for decades and belongs to the international innovation leaders in the field, with its director being editor of the leading English journal in the field of scientific social psychiatry ("Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology"). In addition to the generation and evaluation of knowledge, the dissemination of specific knowledge into the respective science, policy and practice fields is a central concern of the Institute.