Dealing with the mentally ill: How to address mental illness gentlyTalking to a team member about mental illness can be difficult. Entrepreneur Johannes Baier has developed his very own tactics for this purpose. What it looks like. What others can learn from it. Plus: A cheat sheet that also makes it easier for you to talk to the patient.
Johannes Baier had to learn in his own family that there is no patent remedy for dealing with mental illness: "My grandfather had a mental illness, but the subject was taboo, people didn't talk about it," recalls the managing director of the Lueb und Wolters construction center in Borken near Munster, Germany.
It's different for his wife – a partner in the family business: her relatives talk openly about mental illness within the family. Experiencing both sides, the taboo and the open approach, was eye-opening for Baier: "I realized that when everyone talks about it, it's not always the solution to the riddle either." The disease remains. "That showed me that there is no master plan, no generally valid guideline for such conversations. It's very individual."
His personal experience helps
As a manager, you first have to understand that depression, for example, is a real illness, says psychiatrist Ulrich Hegerl, chairman of the German Depression Aid Foundation. "If you've never dealt with it, you're uncertain, you don't know what to recommend or if you can do harm," the expert said.