Authors: Kathy Madson, Catherine Renkin, Kylie Hayes, Mary Cantrill, Louise Watson
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Rolling out Family Connections education groups in Queensland: A collaboration between NEABPD and Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services to improve the coping, mental health and resilience of loved ones of those with Borderline Personality Disorder to improve outcomes for all.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Kathy Madson [BSW (hons); MMH (community); MAASW] Social Worker with 25 years experience in mental heath. Developed a particular interest in BPD. DBT therapist from 2003 to present in public & private comprehensive programs. Adjunct Lecturer at UQ School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work on BPD.
Cathy Renkin is a Social Worker with passion for family inclusive practice. She has worked in public mental health for over 20 years, including 10 years focusing on the needs of parents and their families. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at UQ School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work.
Louise is a dedicated Economist/ Program Governance Officer with the Australian Taxation Office. Louise resiliently supports her daughter through 8 years of her suffering with a complex emotional dysregulation disorder. In 2018 Louise participated in a NEABPD program before compassionately volunteering herself to co-facilitate program sessions in 2019 and beyond.
Life for those who love people with BPD involves high levels of distress, reduced functioning and burden. Yet it is still a highly stigmatized diagnosis and often this population are excluded or experience little benefit from accessing public mental health services. This burden has been shown to seriously affect their own mental health.
This paper presents an innovative collaboration between a public mental health service and a small NGO to roll out the Family Connections (FC) program in QLD. THe FC program was developed by NEA BPD and is a manualised, educational, skills training and support programme providing: current information and research on BPD and family functioning; individual coping and family skills training; and group support via shared experience with other group members.
The collaboration incorporated flexibility and accommodation of the needs of both agencies and challenged norms of service eligibility, delivery and consumer base.
After running a number of programs family graduates have trained to become co-facilitators enhancing viability long term. They and are now delivering the program, taking the next step toward closer fidelity to the FC model of family members delivering the program to family members.
Learning Objective 1: True focus on meeting needs of families in a meaningful way allows collaboration and accommodation between services in different sectors in a genuinely innovative way. This increases in-reach of evidence based programs which enhance well being of those with BPD and those who care for them.
Learning Objective 2: Loved ones of those with BPD continue to be stigmatised and excluded from public mental health services leading to their own declining mental health and resilience. This can continue or exacerbate the distress of the person with BPD also. By offering evidence based carer support programs these support systems are shown to work more effectively and increase the well being of all involved.
Flynn D; Kells, M; Joyce, M et al (2017) Family Connections versus optimised treatment-as-usual for family members of individuals with borderline personality disorder: non-randomised controlled study. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion
Lawn S, McMahon J. (2015) Experiences of family carers of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Journal Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. 22(4): 234–43.