Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

BPD Awareness Week 

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

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International presentation - 'BPD Awareness Week in Australia'

In 2021 the BPD Awareness Week team presented at the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorder (ISSPD) bi-annual congress held in October 2021.  Due to COVID-19 it was held online.

"Since 2018 the Australian BPD Foundation has led a collaboration of individuals and organisations to hold activities and share evidence-based information during BPD Awareness Week in Australia (1-7 October). These campaigns are led by people with lived experience – a graphic designer with lived experience of BPD and 2 carers. This presentation discussed how the campaigns have worked to change community attitudes towards people with BPD, in addition to encouraging those with BPD to think differently about their self-narrative.

Through a new theme each year, current facts and information about BPD is delivered in an accessible way, designed to be non-threatening, trauma informed and with a focus on an individual’s strengths. The messages build compassion, empathy and understanding while promoting recovery, positivity and hope.

Voices are very important to us. Using co-design and co-production principles, we listen to the experts themselves - people with lived experience of BPD and their family/carers, and bring in the strong voices of our allies in the treatment, academic and caring communities."



2023 - Be the Difference: Principles of Care

2022 - BPD: See The Person

2021 - Discover Creative Wellbeing

2020 - Flipping the Script: Changing the Narrative of BPD

2019 - Best Practice Deserved

2018 - Know BPD. NO Stigma.

2017 - From Stigma to Strength

2016 - Awareness for Hope

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


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. 

BPD Awareness Day - 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 Annual National BPD Conferences

BPD Awareness Week - 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. Read motion below or click here to read the BPD Awareness Week Parliamentary motion online.  


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:

  1.  at any one point in time, between 1 and 4 per cent of the general population experiences Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD),
  2. the disorder can be characterised by overwhelming emotions, relationship problems, impulsive and risk-taking behaviour and a fragile sense of self,
  3. a history of trauma, abuse or deprivation is common among those with    the disorder,
  4. despite its prevalence, enormous public health costs and devastating    toll on individuals and families, recovery from BPD is possible,
  5. BPD is a leading cause of suicide, with an estimated 10 per cent of individuals with this diagnosis taking their own lives, and
  6. 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.