Mental health carers program launches in Muswellbrook

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most serious and common mental illnesses that can have a profound impact on not only those diagnosed with it, but also the lives of partners and carers who provide daily support.

For the past three years, Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Hunter, has been conducting vital support programs in Newcastle for families members and carers of people living with the disorder.

Now, thanks to a $35,000 grant from nib foundation, this program is set to expand into Muswellbrook and other areas across the Hunter New England Region to meet the growing demand for the support services.

ARAFMI Hunter Regional Manager, Joanne Sinclair, said for many families this program is the only information and education they receive in gaining a better understanding of their loved one’s symptoms and emotional disorder.

“With 60% of our clients currently living with a partner or family member with BPD, there is a real need for support and education to ensure the health and wellbeing of carers and their families,” Joanne said.

“Without our BPD service these families have little or no support.

“The funding from nib foundation will allow us to meet the urgent need to expand the program into other parts of the Hunter Region and close a gap that is currently having a significant effect on physical and mental health and wellbeing of our population,” she added.

The workshops address some of the major issues and dynamics affecting families, such as improving coping strategies and ways of dealing with difficult behaviour and self-harm.

It is conducted over a full day and addresses symptoms, diagnosis, triggers, behavioural responses, strategies for coping and self care. The group process looks at therapeutic interventions and boundary setting while interaction between family members creates discussion, valuable insights and awareness.

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch, said providing support for carers is the cornerstone of the foundation’s charter.

“Carers are true unsung heroes who dedicate countless hours and emotional energy to ensuring the welfare of others. It is vital that this special group of people receive the right support to not only carry out their role to the fullest but also maintain their own health and wellbeing,” Mr Lynch said.

The expanded program will be launched in Muswellbrook on Wednesday 19 February, before being launched across Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton, Port Stephens, Tamworth and Taree later in the year.