It needs to be acknowledged that in spite of the challenges ahead, progress has been made. Some of the highlights of the progress made so far are:
1. Last 10 years has seen a considerable interest in BPD in Australia. Ms Julien McDonald has led the establishment of the Australian Borderline Personality Disorder Foundation and has been successful in bringing together consumers, carers and clinicians advocate, debate and address the care needs of people with BPD.
2. Janne McMahon, the Patron of the Australian BPD Foundation has been a tireless advocate for BPD and she has been a beacon of hope for BPD movement in Australia.
3. The Australian Senate has declared first week of October as National BPD awareness week. This is expected to further galvanise the BPD movement in Australia.
4. The Australian BPD Foundation has been successful in bringing together consumers, carers and clinicians on a single platform to discuss the care of BPD across the country. Five National BPD Conferences have been held in various states of Australia and 6th National BPD conference is due in October 16.
5. The Australian BPD Foundation is in process of forming branches in each state of Australia and currently has branches in Victoria, NSW and SA. The Foundation will then be well positioned to keep people in each state informed about services and developments in their state via the Foundation website. Each branch can progress advocacy for BPD in accordance with the needs of people in that state supported by the Foundation. The Victorian branch has compiled a guide to services in Victoria and information is being compiled detailing services in all states that can be accessed via the Foundation website.
6. The NHMRC Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of BPD was published in 2012. This is a comprehensive and a world class guideline.
7. Prof A Chanen has established the Helping Young People Early (HYPE) program and developed clinical interventions for adolescent population. He has been strongly advocating for early detection and early intervention of BPD through the establishment of appropriate youth services. He also put Australia on the world map by his pioneering work in early detection and early intervention for BPD and by leading the International Society for Study of Personality Disorder. He was the immediate past President of the International Society for Study of Personality Disorders (ISSPD). He is a leading advocate for BPD in Australia.
8. Project AIR initiative for Personality Disorders in NSW has been established under the leadership of Prof Brin Grenyer and it has pioneered advocacy, training, clinical interventions for BPD in the state of NSW. He has also pioneered the development of brief interventions for BPD in public mental health settings.
9. NEA-BPDAust (National Education Alliance of Borderline Personality Disorder Australia) has been established under the energetic leadership of Ms Anne Reeve to change the way BPD is perceived and treated, with evidence-based training and education for families and clinicians. Within a short period after establishment the NEA-BPD has become very active.
10. Spectrum, a centre of clinical excellence for personality disorders is a state-wide specialist service in Australia which provides treatment to BPD patients, supports primary and public sectors mental health services, justice systems and forensics. Spectrum has played a significant role in advocating for the care of people with BPD. Spectrum provides extensive training and workforce development opportunities. Spectrum works with persons who are highly suicidal and belonging to the age group of 16-64 years. Spectrum has treated people with BPD in Victoria in the past 20 years and trained thousands of clinicians within Victoria and across the country.
11. There are also several local initiatives such as the BPD Vic Community led by its passionate President Barbara Mullen, in Victoria.
12. Prof Mears and his team in Sydney have been running services for BPD using the unique Conversation model treatment. He pioneered this treatment.
13. At least in Victoria, most private hospitals have BPD specific treatment programs (e.g. DBT) for those who have access to adequate private health insurance.
14. There have been several research publications in the field of BPD and Prof Chanen has led the research aspect of BPD in Australia.
15. There are a few places where family support services are beginning to emerge. Family Connections and Spectrum Family support initiatives are some of the examples of such initiatives.
16. The College of Psychiatrists has recently embarked on developing a consumer and carer guide for BPD.
17. Head Space programs support BPD patients.
18. Numerous training opportunities have been organised for clinicians to up skill their knowledge and therapeutic skills across Victoria, SA, NSW and WA. Several international speakers have delivered training events in several places in Australia (Prof A Bateman, Prof M Linehan, Prof A Fruzzetti to name a few).
19. SANE Australia has taken a special interest in providing information about BPD and provided a scholarship to Sonia Neale to travel internationally to explore treatment advances in other parts of the world.
20. A National BPD Expert Reference Group was set up by the previous Labour Federal Minister for Mental Health.
The above list is no doubt not comprehensive and does not cover all the excellent initiatives across the nation.
However, in summary although some progress has been made, in many states there is limited help available for people with BPD and access to care is near to impossible for most people with BPD.
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