Empathy is one of the essential attributes underlying social interactions. Empathic skills
have been associated with an ability to accurately recognise facial emotions.
Importantly, both lack and excess of empathy have been related to suboptimal mental health.
Empathy deficits have been found to underlie social interaction difficulties in Autism Spectrum
Disorder and Personality disorder. On the other hand, it has been shown that the individuals with
high empathy may become vulnerable to emotional burnout. In particular, empathic distress has
been described in mental health professionals and carers. The question arises – are the findings of
empathic distress in caregivers pertinent to the vulnerability to emotional disorders in general? In
this review, we will consider current models of empathy and discuss potential links between characteristics
of empathy and emotion processing that may be relevant to mental health.