Borderline Action Media is a multimedia social enterprise with a mission to deliver deeply meaningful personal stories from the perspective of the lived experience of persons suffering from mental health disorders. 

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is the mental illness with the highest fatality rate due to suicide & drug overdose, yet it is virtually invisible in our conversations around mental illness & the recent opioid overdose epidemic in Canada.

 

Jody Franklin, an artist from Gibsons who struggled with BPD for three decades before finding effective treatment, hopes to change the public conversation & bring BPD to the forefront. “We are suffering through an opioid overdose crisis, there is an epidemic of suicides in indigenous communities & among teens,” Franklin says, “BPD is a huge social problem. If we put more resources into correctly diagnosing & treating BPD, particularly in traumatized communities, lives will be saved.”

 

Franklin feels his own life was saved by Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an evidence-based treatment for BPD that is becoming increasingly available through mental health & addictions services in BC. “The amazing thing about DBT is that people can fully recover from a severe illness without psychiatric medications,” says Franklin, who has been med-free for four years now. Over the years, he had a number of hospitalizations for suicidal behaviors & psychotic episodes, & racked up a succession of diagnostic labels for his recurrent, treatment-resistant mental illness: Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD & PTSD. When he finally got the BPD diagnosis, he went from being treated with drugs to being treated with hostility & abuse by mental health professionals before finally getting into a DBT program. “This, sadly, is a typical story for people with BPD, but fortunately with growing awareness, this is changing.”

 

To help kick off the conversation about BPD in BC, Franklin, who lives on a PWD income, has invested his own money & rented space at Vancouver Public Library to tell his story & educate people about BPD in a public talk called Borderline Personality Disorder: Smashing The Stigma, happening on May 26. “I'm using this talk to launch a new social enterprise called Borderline Action Media, dedicated to educating people about BPD & empowering others with mental illness to speak up & smash the stigma surrounding mental illness.”

 

A few reasons we need to open up the conversation about Borderline Personality Disorder in BC:

 

  • 10% of people diagnosed with BPD die by suicide, a rate much higher than that of any other mental illness, & a rate 1000 times higher than the general population. Given the facts that (1) BPD is considerably underdiagnosed & (2) many suicides are by persons with undiagnosed mental illness, the 10% figure is likely much higher: it is estimated that 38% of all suicides are by persons with BPD, & 33% of teenage suicides meet criteria for BPD. 

     

  • Studies show that up to 3/4 of inpatients in drug treatment facilities that offer dual diagnosis have BPD. BPD has a much higher co-morbidity rate with substance abuse disorders than any other mental illness.

     

  • Recent studies have shown that BPD has much higher rates of disability, unemployment & daily functional impairment than most mental health disorders. BPD has a disability rate on par with schizophrenia & has proven to be a more disabling condition than depression or bipolar disorder.

     

  • Over 3/4 of BPD patients report averse childhood experiences; there is a high co-morbidity rate with PTSD

     

  • BPD may show up in much higher rates in impoverished, vulnerable & marginalized populations, such as indigenous communities, drug users, homeless & street-involved people, sex workers & prisoners.