Welcome to Country: Songwoman Maroochy, Conference Elder
Ministerial Opening Address: Greg Hunt, MP Federal Minister for Health
President's Address: Rita Brown
Platinum Sponsor Address: Maureen Lewis, CEO, The National Mental Health Commission
Keynote Address: Comparison of the different therapies currently available to treat BPD: Professor Brin Grenyer.
Keynote Address: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Validating the impact of complex trauma without diagnosing disorder: Dr Haley Peckham.
Gold Sponsor Address: Queensland State Manager, Mind Australia
Keynote Address: Consumer and Carer Perspective on Living with BPD: Our Recovery Story: Kerry-Ann and Cherida Chapman
Keynote Address: Stigma, Discrimination and Life on the Borderline: Mahlie Jewell.
Creating Connections Between Government and Non-Government Services for People with BPD in Ipswich
Melissa Kent, & Suellen McKerlie.
Understanding how best to respond to the needs of Australians living with Personality Disorder: a spotlight on BPD evidence, service availability and treatment experiences: Elise Carrotte,
Project Air Carers Research: Professor Brin Grenyer,
BPD and Men: The Elephant in the Room: Aaron Fornarino.
Better Practice Deserved: Dr Peggy Brown AO
Songwoman Maroochy welcomes us to her Country in a moving ceremony
President's Address Rita Brown
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Validating the impact of complex trauma without diagnosing disorder
This beautiful quote comes from the pen of J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and shows Professor Dumbledore validating Harry’s experience. Consider the opposite, “It’s all in your head!” suggesting you’re making something up, claiming compassion and understanding that you have no legitimate entitlement to. One way to legitimise ‘what’s in your head’ is to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Diagnosis validates suffering and struggles and may bring relief and clarity but maybe also stigma and a sense of powerlessness. Neuroscience offers us another way. Mechanisms of neuroplasticity have evolved to help us adapt to the environment we encounter. We learn from what has happened to anticipate what will happen. This helps us to survive and reproduce in our environment. From the level of our DNA, to the changing rate at which we create new neurons, through to our neural pathways within and between the regions of our brains; experiences sculpt our brains. Neuroplastic mechanisms shape our brains for the precise environment we experience whether that environment is benevolent, benign, impoverished or abusive. Mechanisms that enhance our capacity to anticipate our environment are survival positive, but in traumatising environments the experiences we have shape our brains to anticipate further trauma. We become threat focused, anxious, aggressive, defensive, or withdrawn, which may serve our survival even as they cause us to suffer, but is this suffering illness per se? The suffering and struggle is real and, in our heads, but is an outcome of our functional neuroplastic mechanisms adapting to a harsh environment.
This presentation explores how we validate the profound and enduring impact of early experiences. Diagnosis of mental disorder is one way to validate psychological and emotional suffering but neuroplasticity, by describing how experiences shape brains, offers consumers a non-pathologising alternative which some may prefer.
Dr Haley Peckham
Haley has been curious about brain and mind since she could think. Whilst studying philosophy, Haley worked with children in out-of-home care and was intrigued and saddened to learn that these children have a high risk of developing mental health issues later. Wanting to understand how our lives shape our brains, Haley became a mental health nurse, began her own psychotherapy and studied neuroscience. Last year, Haley gained a PhD from Melbourne University on the topic of neuroplasticity: how experiences shape brains. She wants to share her understanding of the biology of complex trauma and the necessity for trauma-informed care.
Kerry-Ann and Cherida Chapman are a mother-daughter team. Their story was recently featured on ABC Radio National ‘All in the Mind’ with Lynne Malcolm. They present their recovery experiences at national mental health conferences to challenge the stigma of BPD. Kerry-Ann is a national BPD advocate and presenter. Kerry-Ann is a Wiradjuri woman with lived experience, mental health recovery advocate and peer educator. She is the Aboriginal representative on the NSW Consumer Subcommittee and the Deputy Chairperson on the NSW Peer Workforce Network Committee.
Kerry-Ann is Cherida’s adoptive daughter. She experienced trauma and loss in her teenage years.
This presented challenges to Cherida as she was already coping with the difficulties of the foster
care and adoption systems. They share their thoughts on what was helpful and unhelpful within the
caring relationship, the importance of trust and self-determination in their recovery journey and the
hope that life is worth living with a primary diagnosis of BPD and complex trauma.
(NB Contains some images that may be distressing for some viewers)
In her presentation she talks about her experiences of stigma and discrimination. Mahlie is also the graphic designer who has designed the 2018 "Know BPD. NO Stigma" campaign.
'BPD as one of the most stigmatised and discriminated mental illnesses of our time, I talk about the ways in which the label “BPD” has affected my relationships, both personal and professional and the ways in which you learn to navigate a world that doesn’t really understand you. This presentation shows my journey from confused and misunderstood girl who was labelled “too broken” to a strong proud woman who lives every day as a warrior who survived the judgement of others. I look at the ways we must respond to those who discriminate against us and the way we need to re-educate the world with kindness and empathy and support our fellow peers to embrace their “BPD” label and see the beauty beneath the borderline.”
Creating Connections Between Government and Non-Government Services for People with BPD in Ipswich
Melissa Kent, Partners in Recovery West Moreton-Oxley & Suellen McKerlie, Ipswich-West Moreton Hospital Health Service District
Understanding how best to respond to the needs of Australians living with Personality Disorder: a spotlight on BPD evidence, service availability and treatment experiences
Elise Carrotte, SANE Australia
Borderline Personality Disorder in men is often underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed as Anti Social Personality Disorder or other mental illnesses. Men are more likely to suffer from co-morbid substance abuse issues, intermittent explosive anger and feelings of isolation in discussing emotion and a blanket denial of mental health problems. These factors make accessing treatment difficult and more likely for a male with BPD to become incarcerated, lose family and children and remain isolated within a community.
Some DBT groups may be female dominated that present further problems and make participation in treatments difficult for men. Treatments involving BPD and men may appear to be rarely discussed that reinforce a stigma that women only suffer from BPD. Men may find accessing treatment difficult on fronts of legal, medical and psychological help and may take a 'macho man' approach (e.g. I don't need help/I'll just have a drink/It will blow over). Is it correct in asserting within a court, medical or psychiatric environment that men are antisocial? Is it worth digging deeper to find out the cause of a feeling rather than the anger that overshadows another emotion?
More often than not, sadly, those with BPD in crisis situations are provoked even further into explosive outbursts. These scenarios may be considered to make it difficult for men in particular to express their emotions in a way that identifies a need for assistance and treatment rather than punishment. While responsibility should be promoted more in both genders, approaches may differ. Courts may attempt to punish an offender in a rehabilitative manner however may inadvertently continue a cycle of crisis. Associating BPD with female attributes is factually incorrect and continues a cycle of stigma against men.
Terminology and language around both genders is an important role towards accessible treatment and a desire for men to seek help.
Peggy presentation looks at alternative ways of looking at B...P....D in terms of what BPD is, attitude of services and funding.
She has a Big Picture Dream (BPD) that we can make a difference through training, support (psychosocial, housing etc). We need some Big Bold Policy Decisions........we need politicians to set up and take notice and prioritise.
Dr Brown is a consultant psychiatrist who has held clinical and administrative positions in psychiatry in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, and in the United Kingdom. She has also previously held the roles of Director-General of ACT Health and CEO of the National Mental Health Commission.
Currently, she works part-time at Metro South Addictions and Mental Health Service in Brisbane and serves as a Senior Clinical Advisor to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on a project relating to digital mental health services.
Peggy is also a Member of the Agency Management Committee of AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency) and a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
Carers of persons with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are known to experience anxiety about their caring role but are also interested in strategies to help. Treatment guidelines advocate involving carers in comprehensive therapy approaches. As part of a comprehensive carer program we conducted a randomized controlled trial of group psychoeducation. Group psychoeducation involved 6-8 carers per group and focused on improving relationship patterns between carers and relatives with BPD, psychoeducation about the disorder, peer support and self-care strategies, and skills to reduce mental health burden. At followup those in the intervention reported improvements in dyadic adjustment with their relative with BPD, greater family empowerment, and reduced expressed emotion, and these improvements were sustained at a 12 month follow-up. There were improvements in carers perceptions of being able to play a more active role, such as interacting with service providers. The program demonstrates that providing structured group programs for carers can be an effective way of extending community-based interventions.
Brin F.S. Grenyer, Rachel Bailey, Kate L. Lewis, Michael Matthias, Toni Garrety, Annemarie Bickerton.
Professor Brin Grenyer
See above for his bio.