Psychohygiene is Frankl's word for mental health. Frankl asserts that to keep one's mental health in the camps, an individual had to find a sense of purpose, since the camps would not provide one. Frankl helped his fellow prisoners by trying to have them focus on a "why" in life. He advised them not to concentrate on what they expected out of life, but on what life expected out of them. As he states in Man's Search for Meaning:
Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Even in a concentration camp, life is asking people to find their own answers to their problems and to learn from their experiences.
As part of psychohygiene, Frankl concentrated on helping others to avoid suicide. In one case where a man was contemplating suicide, Frankl had him think about what gave his life meaning: the man remembered that he wanted to stay alive to reunite with a child he adored living in another country. In another case, a suicidal man remembered a book he wanted to finish writing after he was released, which saved him.
At one hopeless, hungry moment, Frankl was able to encourage others and help their mental health by reminding them of all the tiny ways their lives were not as bad as they could have been, even in a concentration camp.
Frankl himself was helped to stay alive by thoughts of reuniting with his beloved young wife. Even though she was dead, which he did not know, his memory of her helped sustain and solace him.