They found that the research into family members and friends of people with BPD is very limited in spite of the role they can play in supporting recovery. They found that the mental health system did not offer support to family members (or friends) in their role but that at BPD Community they found a place where they could belong and learn skills that would help them build their relationship with their loved ones.
The personal benefit to the family members and friends was considerable. They were able to develop self acceptance and self validation, and a greater sense of empowerment. They experienced their own healing and were better able to meet their loved ones halfway, creating a space to support the recovery of their loved ones.
Recommendation #1: continue to invest in dedicated website and evidence-based materials.
Recommendation #2: Increase accessibility of psychoeducation materials.
Recommendation #3: Build on peer support activities
Recommendation #4: Raise awareness of BPD via communications that target existing campaigns
Recommendation #5: Tailor materials to healthcare services to support referrals to BPD Community
Recommendation #6: Enlist the help of trained mental health professionals who understand BPD
Recommendation #7: Make BPD Community sustainable by securing funding and volunteer capacity
Themes from the interviews of participants based on their experience of relational support in the Family & Friends Group:
The personal interviews of the participants to the research make for powerful reading and are highly recommended. The authenticity of the interviewees is strongly communicated and the following themes were able to be defined as a result of their generous participation.
Support (or lack thereof) through mental health and medical systems
Unique relational challenges of being a family member or friend of someone with BPD
Lifelines and anchors: BPD Community and relational support
The components of the relational support that made a difference, based on the interviews, were:
Validation and empowerment of self as well as loved one with BPD
Community and ongoing practice
The research report contains much more than is described here, to read more you can download here.