Stigma and discrimination ruins lives.
Stigma denies people the right to live their life to the full. Discrimination and stigma stop people speaking up or seeking help. Stigma and discrimination are barriers to living a normal life.
A stigma is a preconceived idea or stereotype, something that causes a person to devalue or think less of someone else. Unfortunately, stigma is often something that those of us with mental health conditions must live with – but if you are living with an illness like BPD, you shouldn’t also have to deal with the negative preconceptions of other people.
What causes stigma?
Due in part to the portrayals of mental illness on TV, in movies and in the media, many people view those with personality disorders to be dangerous or unstable. That is simply not the case – those with BPD are more likely to hurt themselves than others.
There are several reasons for stigma.
- People fear what they don’t understand, or they fear mental illness because of what they have seen in the media.
- Some people believe mental illness isn’t real, that people should just ‘pull themeselves together’.
- Some people believe that mental illness is merely a sign of the lazy, or an excuse to not work.
- Some people see mental illness as a weakness, or that those living with mental health conditions are incapable of living their life and making choices.
Because of these stigmas, people living with BPD are more likely to self-stigmatise, causing them further mental health problems.
Stigma and discrimination among medical professionals
Of the ten personality disorders, borderline personality disorder is widely believed to be among the most stigmatised. Even among psychiatrists the condition is misunderstood or misdiagnosed. Those with BPD are frequently misdiagnosed with bipolar or major depressive disorder, simply because of a lack of understanding. Inaccurate diagnosis can harm your well-being, cause further complications with incorrect medications, and prevent you from getting the right care.
The impact on treatment
Patients may want to hide their condition, and may refuse treatment or not attend therapy sessions. Not taking medication or getting the right therapy causes difficulties and delays, as well as medical problems caused by missing medications – causing significant setbacks in their treatment.
We want to see an end to the stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Our multi-faceted anti-stigma campaign will include:
- raising awareness and understanding among medical professionals including GPs, mental health specialists, psychiatrists and psychologists;
- raising awareness and understanding among medical students across multiple disciplines;
- working with employers to better support their staff living with BPD;
- targeted work with other organisations;
- a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #noBPDstigma.
You can become involved in our campaign by sending us a message, and we will get in touch with you about how you can help.