Anita Hubner. ”Believe that you can reach your goals. Also with mental illness.”


October 10 is when we mark World Mental Health Day.

”Young people and mental health in a changing world” is the topic selected this year by the World Health Organization.

On this occasion, we asked several friends of MENSANA project, well-known professionals, beautiful and accomplished persons, to write a letter…

A letter to themselves, only when they were younger.

We are very grateful to those who accepted our challenge.


ANITA HUBNER (Netherlands)

Psychologist, public speaker, trainer, policy consultant and person with lived experience of mental illness 


Dear Anita,

I want to send you this letter of hope from the future that lies ahead of you.

You had a psychosis. You are admitted  in a psychiatric hospital.  You are so young: only 21.

Your psychiatrist told you: ‘’Who once get a psychosis, will never recover’’

You think: ‘’My life is over, I am useless, I will never be happy’’.


It hurts me to see how his words hurt and depress you .

But what if I tell you that bad life situations happen for a reason?

Unfortunately, you will get hospitalized twice again. You will experience discrimination because of your mental illness.  You will lose your job twice. You will lose friends.


But you will  become stronger than before.

Believe that you can reach your goals. Also with mental illness.

Don’t listen to pessimistic and cynic people. Listen to your intuition. Cherish the people that encourage you.

If there is a problem, there are always two solutions. Finding a solution always start with the question ‘’How can I ….? ’’ Instead of saying  ‘’I don’t know how to  …’’


I am  44 years. I started to write  a book: A self-help book about dealing with stigma on mental illness.

A book  that I would like to  read when I was 21, when I was in the same position like you are now.

A book that would inspire me, give hope, and tells me how to deal with stigma.

Against all odds I am a psychologist. With a bipolar disorder.  I have my own company. I am  invited as a speaker on international conferences to talk about stigma on mental illness.

I did not  foresee this when I was 21, depressed and hospitalized.


But if I can, I am  sure you can too. Go back to university in December 1995.

Ignore the doctors who say it will be impossible to graduate. And that work will be too stressful for people who had a psychosis.

It will take at least 20 years before research shows that work will contribute to mental health of people will mental illness.


I believe in you. You can do this.


With love, Anita

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