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On the Borderline

By Gavin Cooper, Borderline Arts (he/him)

Note: This post mentions suicide and self-harm.

‘On The Borderline’ is a series of three short dramatised documentary films. The film is a collaborative project, directed by Doug Smith and produced by Borderline Arts, the only charity in the UK that specialises in BPD.

The Mental Health UK report states that around 1 in 100 people live with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and it is estimated to be present in 20% of in-patients on psychiatric wards. Around 1 in 10 people with a diagnosis of BPD die from suicide.

These are alarming statistics, and yet BPD remains one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented mental health disorders, and there is limited training or education available specifically focused on the condition in the UK.

Film is a versatile art form in its accessibility and wide-reaching nature, and we believe this production will be an effective tool to both raise awareness of BPD and to provide training amongst healthcare professionals.- Sarah Eley, founder of Borderline Arts

The film is set in a Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) group with eight members who share a diagnosis of BPD. Dramatised flashbacks are used to show the situations they are disclosing to group as they learn to manage their symptoms on a daily basis.

We follow the characters as they struggle to cope with extreme emotional intensity, thoughts of self-harm or suicide, potentially risky impulsive behaviours, and unstable relationships. But we also see their unique qualities and their achievements despite the difficulties they face. We see the friendships that develop and their strength – both as individuals and as a group – in not letting BPD win.

These scenarios are complemented by interviews with therapists and medical experts throughout the film. This is important in both providing a professional insight and adding context to the dramatic scenes. The result is an exciting and essential film that not only entertains but educates.

The production is supported by Derby QUAD and we plan to stage a launch event at their cinema and exhibition centre. The films will then be available for online streaming as a training resource. We are also planning to have an event for NHS professionals and a series of workshops that use the film as a teaching tool to enhance the knowledge of healthcare workers and carers around the treatment of BPD.

Mind’s Communities Team have brought together a working group of individuals with a diagnosis of BPD to work on activities during Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month. The aim is for people to draw from their lived experiences to shape projects that will raise awareness and dismantle the stigma that surrounds the condition.

It has been my privilege to be a part of this group and to be given the opportunity to showcase On The Borderline. By working together we hope we can improve access to treatment for BPD and provide earlier interventions to help people to manage this complex and potentially fatal disorder.

- Gavin Cooper, scriptwriter for On the Borderline

Borderline Arts is a small independent charity and although we have secured some funding, we do need some more – so any financial support you can give us would be crucial in helping us complete this exciting and much needed project.

Thank you for your support.

To find out more and to donate please visit our local giving page

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