Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that is often misunderstood. People with this disorder are frequently discriminated against and stigmatised.

Symptoms for people with this disorder include emotional distress, self-harm, difficulty relating to others and the world around them. This can be very distressing for the person and for people close to them.

Currently between 2% and 5% of Australians, that's 520,000 to 1,300,000 individuals are affected by BPD at some stage in their lives. The symptoms of the disorder usually first appear in mid to late teens or in early adulthood. Women are three times more likely to be diagnosed than men, although recent research shows a similar prevalence for the condition.

The causes of BPD are not fully understood.  They are likely to involve biological, social and/or environmental factors. For some people these factors may relate to childhood experiences of trauma or neglect.

Contrary to common belief, people with BPD can recover! With early diagnosis, appropriate treatment and support the prognosis for people with BPD is positive.

Having BPD is not deliberate; it is a disorder people do not choose to have. And, people can recover!

What is borderline personality disorder? from BPD Co (SA)

What is BPD? Spectrum: specialising in personality disorder and Complex Trauma (Vic)

A guide to BPD developed by the RANZCP 

Embracing Borderline Personality Disorder - Dr Keith Gaynor (2013)

Information about BPD in other languages


Diagnostic Criteria for BPD - see the DSM-V diagnostic criteria and the ICD-11 diagnostic criteria.

Lived Experience Presentations

It's time to talk about Mental Health - a Vic Government initiative

Almost half of all Victorians will experience mental illness in their lifetime but too many people don’t speak up for fear of stigma and discrimination.

  • Darce - talks about receiving the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder to illustrate to others how we are all affected by different mental health challenges, and to offer hope to anyone who may be struggling.
  • Donna -talks on the themes: trauma, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, acute care

BPD: What works? - Fred & Catherine with A/Prof Andrew Chanen & Dr Jo Beatson Podcast 'All in the Mind' podcast (23 Nov 2014)

Borderline Personality Disorder: stigma to strength with Mahlie Jewell and A/Prof Sathya Rao 'All in the Mind podcast (18 Feb 2018)

BPD and healing relationships - Karen & Mary with Prof Brin Grenyer 'All in the Mind' podcast (25 Feb 2018)

Mahlie - speaks about her journey with BPD, the struggles, personal successes and her strength as she "lives her truths"

Aaron - speaks about his life with BPD and his subsequent recovery. This is a recording taken at the Sanctuary Carer Support Group meeting Jan 2018

Haley - Borderline Personality Disorder: breaking the stigma, exploding the myth

Haley - Neuro-plasticity, trauma & experience. Neuroscientist Dr Haley Peckham talks about her research as “the biological mechanisms that translate our lived experience in the world into changes in the brain" and how these mechanisms “can be harnessed to influence people’s recovery from the impacts of trauma”.  (presentation draws on Dr Peckham’s personal experience of surviving a history of complex trauma

Maree - Using Art Therapy to aid recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder

Marnie - We need to talk about Mental Health - Marnie shares her story about BPD and talks about what you can do if you or someone you love is struggling

John - Oh Lord It’s Hard to Have BPD - a song written and sung by John Taylor, a BPD Warrior, for BPD Awareness Week for all the BPD Warriors out there and their families, friends and loved ones. We are *all* doing the best we can".  This was performed for BPD Awareness Week 2021.