Mental health research opportunities in the MONICA-KORA studyGoal: Initially, part of the worldwide MONICA (Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease) Project of the World Health Organization (WHO), the project was pursued 1996 as KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region Augsburg) Study, which now substantially expands the former focus on cardiovascular medicine. Major research questions within the mental health focus emphasize the prognostic impact of psychosocial stress on the incidence of somatic endpoints and the gender-driven crosstalk of psycho-neuro- immunological conditions with somatic diseases. Methods: Three independent representative population-based MONICA/KORA surveys (S1 to S3) starting in 1984/85 and performed in 5-years intervals, constitute the backbone of the psychosocial MONICA sub study. An extensive set of psychosocial baseline data captured in the S1 to S3 surveys are available for a total of approximately 13000 participants in the age range of 25 to 75 years. Here, data allow estimates of work-stress conditions, social isolation, social network, life satisfaction and the Type A Behavior Pattern. The Follow-up studies (F3, F4, FFF4) allow for prospective, time-dependent analyses. In the follow-up (F) surveys, psychosomatic research was strengthened with the inclusion of standardized assessments of depression, anxiety, Type D personality and (in F4) for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychosocial stress and life satisfaction. Combined analyses with genetic, epigenetic and metabolomic datasets are feasible. Results: The initial S1 to S3 surveys provided psychosocial baseline data for approximately 13000 participants in the age range of 25 to75 years. The Follow-up studies (F3, F4, FFF4) each included approximately 3000 participants with validated datasets with a median of 9 to 15 years of follow-up period from baseline. An increasing number of co-operations dealing with sophisticated basic research tools are currently ongoing. Conclusions: Prospective assessments of psychosocial stress conditions on the onset of somatic disease conditions and research on the interaction with autonomic, endocrine and inflammatory pathways result in new insights of established disease conditions and may contribute as a game-changer in the current disease understanding.