Heathcotes mark Mental Health Awareness Week with focus on personality disorder


To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, care provider Heathcotes Group is seeking to increase awareness of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and highlight the need for more specialist support for this complex condition.

Personality disorders involve attitudes, beliefs and behaviours which cause longstanding mental health problems. Nearly half of all people diagnosed with a personality disorder are given a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder – most commonly termed Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder – and around three quarters of these are women. Often resulting in self-harm or life-threatening behaviours, the condition needs to be safely managed with a specialist service model which is currently lacking within the care sector.

Heathcotes’ specialist Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Peter Burbidge, explained more about the condition and its treatment: “Mental Health Awareness Week aims to promote a broader understanding of mental health, so this week seems especially timely to discuss Borderline Personality Disorder and how the condition can be misunderstood. The term itself can be misleading and is often interpreted in its literal sense; that you are borderline in terms of having a personality disorder. However, this is not the case. Professionals most commonly use the term Emotionally Unstable as they feel it’s a clearer description of the experiences individuals might have with this diagnosis. Some of the feelings that people with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder may experience are abandonment, loneliness and very intense emotions. They may also act impulsively, self-harm and struggle to make and keep stable relationships. The right treatment can help these individuals work out which thought and behaviour patterns are useful, and which aren’t. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is one of the most commonly used treatment methods for people with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. It aims to reduce life threatening behaviours, non-life threatening self-harm, and behaviours that are likely to lead to placement breakdown.

Without these carefully developed service models, individuals will most likely be placed in hospital, supported living or non-specialist residential services that are unable to manage their behaviours and meet their needs. Heathcotes have established two specialist services, in Leeds and Nottingham, which safely meet the needs of these individuals in the community.   We advocate Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as a way to reduce hospital admissions and improve quality of life. Service provisions like these mean that more individuals are discharged from hospital, or avoid hospital admission altogether, in line with the Transforming Care Agenda. Mental health is complex. It’s a condition which will affect most of us directly or indirectly during our lifetime. More specialist care will enable more people to maintain increased independence and a better quality of life.”


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