Support Promote Advocate

for Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD Awareness week

BPD Awareness Week is held during the first week of October each year from the 1st - 7th October

Plans for 2017: From Stigma to Strength

The Ambassador for BPD Awareness Week 2017 Professor Ian Hickie introduces this years campaign.

In this clip he speaks to people with BPD and their families about the ways in which we may more positively promote the quality of their lives and also more positive engagement with the health system.

Ian Hickie is a National Mental Health Commissioner and a co-director of the Brain and Mind Institute

BPD Awareness Week Website 

BPD Awareness Week Facebook page

Video clips

The clips were produced for BPD Awareness Week 2016

Never Stop Trying: Living and Parenting with BPD

Hannah Dee and Rose Cuff in conversation about Living and Parenting with BPD 

Hope and recovery for people with BPD

Haley talks about her recovery from BPD and the role of neuroplasticity (the ability of nerves to repair) following childhood trauma

The origins of BPD Awareness Week

In 2011, consumers, carers and clinicians came together with one thing in mind and that was to heighten awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder and the major gaps in access, treatment and support for those affected by BPD. 

 It was decided that a Conference was needed as a first priority with this to be held in Melbourne where most of the people were situated.  The Darebin Centre was booked for this event and the day that was available was 5th October. In searching for a theme, it was chosen to be ‘Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Day. Events were held in the Illawarra, Adelaide and Perth to assist in conveying a positive message.  And so the journey began….. 

There has been a great deal of activity since the 5th October, 2011.  The Australian BPD Foundation has been established and one of the key tasks for the fledgling Foundation has been to convene all subsequent national annual BPD Awareness Conferences.  These have been held:

5th October, 2011              Melbourne with 500 attendees (capacity of the venue)

5th October, 2012              Adelaide with 250 attendees (capacity of the venue)

October, 2013                    Sydney with 200 attendees

October, 2014                    Melbourne with 450 attendees

October, 2015                    Adelaide with 250 attendees (capacity of the venue)

October 2016                     Sydney with 150 attendees

This year the Conference is being held in Perth in partnership with the Western Australian Association for Mental Health on the 18th October. For more information Click here.

One of the difficulties in naming a specific day is that in some years that will fall on a Saturday or Sunday.  It was then decided by the Foundation and their associates that a better way in an organisational sense was to have the first week of October as BPD Awareness Week.

In 2014 a small delegation of consumers, carers and clinicians met with the then Senator Penny Wright (Australian Greens) and Jan McLucas (Labor) with a request to formalise the week with the Australian Senate acknowledging the first week of October in each year as BPD Awareness Week.  Here is the motion put to the Senate and which was adopted without amendment.

AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT: SENATE

 WEDNESDAY, 1 OCTOBER, 2014

 MOTIONS

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week

 Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:43):

I, and also on behalf of Senator McLucas, move:

That the Senate  —

(a) notes that:

 (i)        at any one point in time, between 1 and 4 per cent of the general population experiences Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD),

(ii)       the disorder can be characterised by overwhelming emotions, relationship problems, impulsive and risk-taking behaviour and a fragile sense of self,

(iii)      a history of trauma, abuse or deprivation is common among those with    the disorder,

 (iv)     despite its prevalence, enormous public health costs and devastating    toll on individuals and families, recovery from BPD is possible,

(v)          BPD is a leading cause of suicide, with an estimated 10 per cent of individuals with this diagnosis taking their own lives, and

(vi)         an increased understanding of BPD is required among health professionals and the general public by promoting education, research, funding, early detection, and effective treatments; and

(b)       acknowledges that the Australian BPD Foundation, through ongoing advocacy from Ms Janne McMahon OAM, Dr Martha Kent and Professor Andrew Chanen, has declared the first week of October each year as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week with the aim of promoting understanding of the disorder in the community and working towards better treatment options and quality of life for those affected by the disorder.

Question agreed to.

This was a momentous occurrence.  This has not been done before with any other specific illness or disease.  It was also due to a great deal of lobbying, patience and some heartache along the way by the consumers, carers and clinicians. 

And so for 1st October, 2014 we have a Parliamentary officially recognised BPD Awareness Week. 

Janne McMahon and Dr Martha Kent, both from Adelaide lobbied the South Australian upper house politicians to also put the same motion to Parliament on the 19th November, 2014.  It is very pleasing that this was passed with all politicians other than the sitting Labor Government representatives agreeing to the motion.  An additional point was also adopted and that was ‘and a statewide specialised borderline personality disorder service (unit) for South Australia be established’. Although now two years later, we are still waiting for action by the South Australian Government to establish the service.

This is the history of committed consumers, carers and clinicians who all speak with the one voice through BPD Awareness Week bringing greater awareness, positive messages and hope to all people affected by BPD.

BPD Awareness Week provides us with a time for reflection, acknowledgement and recognition. This is a time where we pay tribute to all who work for better recognition for those affected by BPD, who actively seek to reduce the prejudices and discrimination associated with this serious mental illness, and who strive to provide access to appropriate services offering choices, who foster research and training to normalise this mental illness.