• Hannah Phillips

Personality Disorder Support in the Riverina

Adolescents and adults in the Riverina will have better access to mental health support for personality disorders with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) bringing a specialised clinic and staff training to the region.

Member for Albury, Greg Aplin announced the implementation as part of the NSW Government’s $5.5 million expansion of the Project Air Strategy, to ensure earlier diagnosis of a personality disorder and a reduction of time spent in hospital due to access to more tailored treatments.

“There are teenagers and young adults in our community who need this specialised treatment and I’m very pleased the Gold Card Clinic will be coming to the region," he said.

"This successful strategy is proven to improve the treatment for personality disorders."

MLHD have invited staff in Albury to participate in training about personality disorders, the importance of rapid care, and the unique tailored treatments that have been proven to work effectively.

“This is great news for people who live with a personality disorder and it’s great news for those close to them who are often impacted and need support too," Mr Aplin said.

There are several types of personality disorders including borderline, antisocial, narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive, with treatment often involving evidence-based psychological therapy to help the person understand their feelings and improve their relationships.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said people experiencing a personality disorder represent about 25% of mental health presentations to emergency departments and admissions to NSW’s mental health inpatient units.

“Often these people arrive to the hospital in distress, and we are seeing this unique project significantly reduce presentations to Emergency Departments and shorten hospital stays, because the right help is getting to people faster,” she said.

The project is a collaboration between the NSW Government and the University of Wollongong and includes:

  • Ongoing training for health staff on managing affected people and carers;

  • The Gold Card Clinic initiative to help consumers move from emergency departments, to treatment in the community; and

  • The establishment of ongoing resources for health professionals via the ‘Air Academy’ and online resources for families and carers.

If you, or someone you know, needs crisis support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For more information about Project Air Strategy and for resources about personality disorders visit www.projectairstrategy.org.

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