Experiences of Family Carers of People Diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder
Lawn, Sharon Joy
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There is limited understanding of the experience of family carers of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This study aimed to explore their experiences of being carers, their attempts to seek help for the person diagnosed with BPD, and their own carer needs. An invitation to participate in an online survey was distributed to carers across multiple consumer and carer organisations and mental health services, by the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network (Australia) in 2011. Responses from 121 carers showed that they experience significant challenges and discrimination when attempting to engage with and seek support from health services. Comparison with consumers’ experiences (reported elsewhere) showed that these carers have a clear understanding of the discrimination faced by people with this diagnosis, largely because they also experience exclusion and discrimination. Community carer support services were perceived as inadequate. General practitioners were an important source of support; however, they and other service providers need more education and training to support attitudinal change to address discrimination, recognise carers’ needs and provide more effective support. This study provides the first detailed account of BPD carers’ experiences across a broad range of support needs and interactions with community supports and health services.