To Disclose or not to Disclose Mental Illness? (English page)

Biography

Anita Hubner, MD, has worked as a psychologist in The Netherlands since 1999. She has broad experience in working with  (forensic) psychiatric patients, homeless people both in institutional and ambulant settings.

In 2016 Anita started her business. Her focus is on reducing stigma on mental illness and participation of people with disabilities in society, especially participation in employment.

She is a policy advisor. She advises The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights on topics related to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) concerning people with mental illness.

The Netherlands, The Hague, 1 December 2017. Presenting the Dutch CRPD report to the Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge. Photo: Elmer van der Marel

International public speaker and trainer

Anita is a public speaker on mental health inside and outside The Netherlands (Antwerp, Brussels, Bucharest) on governmental or mental health conventions. She also  performed on Tedx Amsterdam Women with her pitch ‘’There is no gap between people with hand without mental illness’’

Anita works as a Honest, Open, Proud (HOP) trainer in the Netherlands. She also has worked abroad with people with lived experience  in Moldova.

Lived experience with stigma and mental health care

Anita’s mission to contribute to inclusion  stems from her personal experience with mental health care and stigma. In 1995, being a psychology student at the age of 21, she got a psychosis. Her psychiatrist told her ‘’Who once ever had a psychosis, will never recover’’.

He advised her to live in a sheltered psychiatric institution and live on welfare. Graduating or a paid job would never be possible.  His words were at first a slap in the face. But Anita refused to believe this. Luckily, a nurse supported her in her goals. She  managed to graduate and start a career. Even 2 other hospitalizations did not stop her to continue her career.

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte higlighted Anita’s openness, vision and mission as an inspirational example of how we should deal with people with mental illness, especially when it comes to employment affairs.

Can you imagine: If  Anita would have listened to her psychiatrist,  she never would have become a psychologist. Her life would have taken a totally different course. Her story shows the impact of stigma by mental health professionals. But also the impact if you,  being a mental health professional,  keep faith hand show hope in recovery towards your patients with mental health problems.

Author “To Disclose or not to Disclose? Dealing with stigma on mental illness

In March 2021, Anita published her self help book “To Disclose or not to Disclose: how to deal with stigma on mental illness?”. In this book she presents a thee step method how to get a grip on the dilemma disclose or not to disclose, and how to disclose in a meaningful way.

Her book got very good reviews by peers. “I wish I would have had read this book when I struggled with stigma on mental illness” is often mentioned by people with mental illness. Mental health professionals advise the book. Often they get the question ”Doctor, should I disclose or not disclose on a job interview?” With this book, they can help their clients to make the decision that suits best.

Anita has been interviewed many times in the Dutch media.

Czech Republic

Anita’s book is at the moment available in the Dutch language, and therefore accessible to people in The Netherlands and Belgium.

In 2022 the Czech translation has been released in the Czech Republic. This is the link to the Czech book. Here is a review of my book at Instagram from @czechpsychologist. Click here for the original Instagram post. With the option ‘translate’ you can translate her post in your native language.

An English preview of Anita’s book

Anita gave a TV interview at PAC (Pan Asian Collective) in the English language, Anita reads a part from her book and is interviewed about stigma on mental illness. Check the episode ”It’s all Mental” here:

(Anita steps in at 13:00 minute)