Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

2012 'BPD is Everyone's Business' Conference







The purpose of the BPD Awareness Conference was to bring together consumers, carers and health professionals to create a greater awareness of BPD including the challenges for people, families/carers, health professionals and the mental health system. There were presentations on a range of different topics including treatment models, legacy of trauma, the need for awareness from a consumer and carer perspective and whether recovery is possible. The Conference was well attended by 250 people and comprised consumers, carers, health and mental health professionals, politicians, policy advisors, public and private mental health providers.

The Conference convenors were Ms Janne McMahon OAM and Dr Paul Cammell. It was presented by the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network (Australia) in partnership with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia, supported by funding from the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing, SA Health, MIND Australia and headspace.


We were very pleased to open the Conference with a moving video clip titled  ‘Out of the Darkness - Borderline Personality Disorder and me’ by Timothy Cracknell. 

Tim’s words about his video are: ‘I have made this video to detail my struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is my hope that this video will help shed some light on a gravely misunderstood illness & to diminish the stigma surrounding it.’  

Apologies this video has been deleted. 

Session 1:

Ms Nellie Worringham - '...but inside you're Screaming'
NELLIE WORRINGHAM has an extensive lived experience of self-injury, and has been struggling with mental health issues since the age of 12. Her experiences of treatment, both in A&E, and within the mental health sector itself, have often proven to be more traumatising that helpful. Nellie is passionate about educating professionals in the area of self-injury and borderline personality disorder. She hopes that by sharing her experiences in a shockingly honest way, others who are experiencing similar issues will not have to endure the same traumatizing events that she has.

Ms Ruth Carson - 'Respect in a space of inequality'

RUTH CARSON was educated at the University of London and trained as a social worker at the London School of Economics and the Tavistock Clinic. She practised and taught social work up to a senior level until coming to Australia in 1982. Here, she has held senior positions in human services in Victoria and became co-chair of the National Mental Health Consumer Carer Forum for mental health. She has had extensive experience of BPD as a carer, and in 20/10/11 she authored a book, An Unquiet State, in which mental illness was one of the central motifs and which has been widely acclaimed by mental health consumers, carers and professionals alike. She sits as a carer representative on the Research Committee and the Community Collaboration Committee of the RANZCP.

Dr Martha Kent - 'BPD - the Cinderella of mental health' 

DR MARTHA KENT is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist working in clinical practice who has an interest in women's mental health in general & BPD in particular. She has worked in the Public Mental Health system for many years and now works principally in Private Practice and offers longer term therapy to women with BPD. She also teaches Psychiatrists in training re BPD and has participated in initiatives both State & Federal to examine and recommend improvements in the system of care for people with BPD.



Session 2:

Dr Sathya Rao 'How to organise a personality disorder Service for a state with a population of six million people using three million dollars? - A Victorian experience'

DR SATHYA RAO MBBS (1987), MD (Psychological Medicine-1993), DPM (1991), Dip NB(Psychiatry-1994), FRANZCP (2001). Clinical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist, Spectrum, the Personality Disorder Service for Victoria. Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University. Current Member, NHMRC BPD Guideline Development Committee. Co author of “Borderline Personality Disorder: Towards effective treatment (2010). Australian Postgraduate Medicine, Fitzroy, Melbourne. He runs extensive training programs for psychiatrists, Registrars, GP's and clinicians of other Mental Health disciplines in the field of Personality disorders. He is also involved in providing extensive clinical second opinions and secondary consultations Previous Chair of the Victorian Psychiatry Training Committee.

Dr Paul Cammell 'What does borderline mean?'

DR PAUL CAMMELL is a psychiatrist who currently holds a joint clinical and academic position with the Department of Psychiatry, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, South Australia. He is the South Australian RANZCP Director of Advanced Training in Psychotherapy. He has recently completed a PhD through the Monash University Department of Psychological Medicine exploring developmental and clinical models of borderline pathology using philosophical analysis, and has spoken at conferences and published in this field. He has undertaken the RANZCP advanced training in psychotherapy, other postgraduate study in psychoanalytic studies and practises as a psychotherapist with an interest in complex disorders such as borderline syndromes, dissociative disorders and traumatised states.

Professor Louise Newman AM 'The legacy of early Trauma'

PROFESSOR LOUISE NEWMAN AM, BA(Hons) MBBS(Hons) PhD FRANZCP Cert. Child Psych. RANZCP Louise Newman is the Professor of Developmental Psychiatry and Director of the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology. Prior to this appointment she was the Chair of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle and the previous Director of the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry. In January 2011 she was appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia. She is a practising infant psychiatrist with expertise in the area of disorders of early parenting and attachment difficulties in infants. She has undertaken research into the issues confronting parents with histories of early trauma and neglect. Her current research is focussing on the evaluation of infant-parent interventions in high-risk populations, the concept of parental reflective functioning in mothers with borderline personality disorder and the neurobiology of parenting disturbance She has published in the areas of infant mental health, attachment disorders trauma, and prevention of child abuse. She is co-author of the textbook Clinical Skills in Infant Mental Health and the forthcoming Contemporary Approaches in Child and Adolescent Mental health. She is the Convenor of the Alliance of Health Professions for Asylum Seekers and an advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. She is the Chair of the Detention Expert Health Advisory Group an independent body providing advice to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on the health needs of asylum seekers. She has been involved in research into the impact of immigration detention on child asylum seekers.

Kim Werner - ''My life with and after BPD'

Concurrent sessions:

Constructing comprehensive care for high needs borderline patients in the public sector: Spectrum's approach. (Dr Sathya Rao, Clinical Director, Spectrum and Robert Trett, Associate Director, Spectrum)

'Understanding the pain of BPD' (Jonathon Bryant, Dr Yasna Petrunic, Lorraine Powell)

'Connecting with families - what carers need to know' (Judy Burke, Deb Dick and Q&A)


Session 4:

Dr Bill Pring - 'Recovery IS possible?'  
DR BILL PRING is a general psychiatrist who works predominantly in private practice, but has also been involved in consultation–liaison (Psychosomatics) psychiatry in the public sector for twenty–four years, including twelve years as Director of Box Hill Hospital Consultation– Liaison Psychiatry Service. Bill has served on the Victorian Branch of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) including terms as Secretary, Chair, and as Branch General Councillor. Within the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Bill was firstly involved as a Committee Member, and then Secretary of the AMA Section of Psychiatry in Victoria. He has served as Psychiatry Craft Group Representative on the AMA Federal Council and was the Chair of the Federal AMA Public Health and Aged Care Committee. Bill is one of the two AMA Representatives on Private Mental Health Alliance (PMHA) and Chaired the PMHA's Centralised Data Management Service (CDMS) Management Committee. Bill is also currently a member of the PMHA's Quality Improvement Project Steering Committee.

Dr Jill Benson AM - 'Challenges for general practice and for other cultures'

DR JILL BENSON has been a GP for over 30 years. She is currently working with refugees at the Migrant Health Service, Aboriginal people in the remote communities of Yalata, Oak Valley and Tjuntjuntjara and teaching mental health for the WHO in Vanuatu. She lectures at University of Adelaide, Flinders University and UniSA. Dr Benson has written many journal articles and a book - "Mental Health Across Cultures. A practical guide for health professionals" She has a research interest in refugee and aboriginal health and Vitamin B12. She is Director, Health in Human Diversity Unit, University of Adelaide, Discipline of General Practice, Senior Medical Officer, Migrant Health Services, Medical Director, Kakarrara Wilurrara Health Alliance, PIMHNet consultant - Vanuatu, World Health Organization. 

The Australian BPD Foundation wishes to acknowledge the support of Flinders University SA and Lived Experience Australia (formerly Private Mental Health Consumer and Carer Network) in making these videos available.