People who would not tell the story cite three main reasons for this: they would be ashamed, they are afraid that the telling will have a negative effect on their job or career and / or they consider it a private matter, says Prof. Evelien Brouwers, who led the investigation.
Good relationship manager
It is striking that 39 percent of people who would not tell say they would with another manager. And also with people who would tell, the manager plays an important role in that decision. Their main reasons that they have a good relationship with their supervisor and that they feel responsible for their work. “
Brouwers hopes that managers will understand that this means that they play a major role in preventing people from dropping out with psychological problems. If people tell them in time, they can see what they need to do their job better. More flexible working hours, a task they temporarily don’t have to do or noise-canceling headphones can sometimes be enough.
Also good for business
That is also what Floor (44) thinks. She has had depression and burnout, and was later diagnosed with asperger (a form of autism). Floor decided to tell her supervisor. “I had dropped out a few times, so my manager knew something was going on.” She first told a kind of peer group of the organization where she worked, and shortly afterwards she went to her manager.
“I did that very thoughtlessly. I thought: then you know how my head works. I had also had conversations with my manager before, and he also told honestly if he once had a lesser day. That helped.”
Brouwers also mentions conversations with a manager as an important factor for openness about these kinds of problems. “You shouldn’t start with that if someone is not doing well, but if it is going well. Regularly ask how people are doing, what they need to continue to do their job with pleasure. If you do it while it is going well it is also easier to tell if things are not going well. “
Not always easy
And everyone has times when things go less well, says Brouwers. “One is going to divorce, the other is in debt, yet another has mental or physical problems. It is important that a manager is open to that.”
Floor is happy that she told it at the time, but it was not always easy. “I had some bumps to take. For example, others started thinking for me. Then they said: it’s not convenient that you do that, with your head. Or they had watched a series with such a super stereotype autistic and thought that I just would respond like that. It was all well-intentioned, but I was also annoyed. I wanted to decide for myself what is good for me and what I can do. “
Whether Floor would do it the same way again, she doesn’t know. “I think it also depends on the type of complaints. I think people look at you differently if you have a burnout than if you have borderline or an addiction.”
But talking about your mental health problems is not the same as telling your diagnosis, she says. “This was the way for me, I no longer wanted to hide. But if that doesn’t feel right for you, you can also just tell your symptoms.” I can concentrate better when I’m in a quiet room, “or” I like to think about things before I answer. “Then they can take that into account, without you having to decide right away to throw everything on the table.”