The Institute

Attention: New research site!

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Psychiatry, under the aegis of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (, has terminated its research activities by end of 2014.

This website will not be updated anymore. All information on this website relates to past events and research activites and shall be regarded as an archive of the closed LBI.

Its research activities are continued at the new research site IMEHPS.research - Research Institute for Social Psychiatry.
Information and Requests under:

Mission Statement

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Psychiatry (LUBIS) has been pursuing two main aims since it was established in 1977: 

  1. Carrying out research on the influence of “social factors” on the pathogenesis, presentation, course and management of mental disorders, with the ultimate aim of improving their prevention and management.
  2. The dissemination of relevant knowledge on mental health issues and the adequate information of health and other politicians, health administrators, professionals, users and carers about these issues.

The perspectives of users and carers have always been central to our research.

“Social factors” can be specified as belonging to the micro-social (e.g. family), meso-social (e.g. institutions) or macro-social level (e.g. culture, health-care system). The activities of the LUBIS have covered all three levels over the last 35 years. In recent years the focus has moved to “public mental health” issues, i.e. to the macro-social level, with an increasing number of projects on health services, health systems and health policy.

Historical remark: The LUBIS was founded in 1977 in parallel to the Vienna Crisis
Intervention Centre with the intention of providing research support for the latter, which offers low threshold access to help for persons in psychosocial crises and with suicidal ideation. This explains why, in addition to many other topics, suicide issues have always been and still are a focus of research interest of the LUBIS. Both the practically working Crisis Intervention Centre and the research focused LUBIS were established in order to pioneer social psychiatric aspects of mental disorders and complement academic psychiatry which has always focused more on biological than on psychosocial aspects of mental health. Until 2007 (when both organizations had to move) the LUBIS had been hosted by the Crisis Intervention Centre, which had provided the basic infrastructure, whereas research funds for other costs (especially staff) had always to be raised from outside.


Structure and Organisation

Univ. Prof. Heinz Katschnig, MD

Office Management:
Gabriele Niedermayer, MA

Project management and scientific research:
Univ. Prof. Michaela Amering, MD
Gisela Hagmair, MA
Sonja Scheffel, MA
Univ. Prof. Gernot Sonneck, MD
Christa Strassmayr, MA
Barbara Weibold, MA

Partnerships and Cooperations

There are among others cooperations with the following institutions:

  • Ministry of Health Vienna, Austria
  • Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions, Vienna, Austria
  • Medical University of Vienna, Austria
  • Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Queen Mary, University of London), England
  • King's College London (University of London), England
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), England
  • THL National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki (previously STAKES), Finland
  • Università di Verona, Italia
  • The Romanian Academy Bucharest, Romania
  • World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Danmark



The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Psychiatry was founded in 1977 by Professor Erwin Ringel and Professor Heinz Katschnig. At that time Professor Ringel was in charge of the Vienna Crisis Intervention Centre, founded in the same year. The institute was entrusted with the task of carrying out research in the field of social psychiatry, being new at that time, and especially research on suicide prevention for the Vienna Crisis Intervention Centre.