KEYNOTE PAPER: The Emperor’s New Clothes: On Being Invisible And Neglected Within The Mental Health System – A Gendered Perspective From A “Borderline Pioneer”.

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Authors: Merinda Epstein, VIC

Year: 2006

Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference

Subject: BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER BPD, CONSUMER PERSPECTIVE, DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL, LIVED EXPERIENCE

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 9780975765326

Abstract: Since the publication of the first national mental health strategy in 1993, Australian mental health policy has prioritised services for people diagnosed with psychotic illness. There is unanticipated fallout from this approach. Certain groups of people are systemically locked out of services through a justifying rhetoric that denies the seriousness of their distress. This paper looks at the vulnerability of women labelled as having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to this approach and this rhetoric. It looks at the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a political tool and the systemic, diagnosis-based discrimination within services, as well as hierarchies of legitimacy and shame. How does a fight for people’s right to ‘be seen’ sit within a consumer critique of psychiatry’s apparent thirst to create more and more categories of pathologised person? This paper names the ‘borderline’ dilemma as a gendered issue. It also names it as a socially constructed one located in the politics of childhood trauma.

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