Announcing the First BPD Awareness Walk in the United States

If you are able, come join us in New York City on Sunday, May 20th.

Posted May 16, 2018

Up to 6% of the U.S. population suffers from this debilitating mental illness


Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe suffered from it. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson and NFL player Brandon Marshall have opened up about their struggles with it.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects up to 6% of the U.S. population, contributing to the incidences of suicide and drug overdoses. It continues to be among the most stigmatized mental illnesses in our society, yet it often goes unrecognized and many treatments are not covered by insurance.

© emotions matter
Source: © emotions matter

What:The nation’s first ‘Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder’to raise awareness and advocate for change

When:Sunday May 20, 2018, from 10am to 12pm

Where:Hudson River Park, Pier 40 Picnic House, New York City

Why:While the public’s perception of this mental disorder often labels sufferers as “manipulative” or “difficult,” the Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder seeks to change that image, shedding light on a serious brain disorder sorely in need of more research and treatment to save lives.

Further background:

Driven by an overactive amygdala (the brain’s emotional-control center), individuals with BPD typically develop self-destructive and impulsive behaviors such as cutting, self-harm, food disorders, and substance abuse. Difficulty regulating their emotions results in stormy relationships, repressed anger, and lack of self-worth.

One sufferer describes living with BPD as being “like driving an emotional vehicle that is accelerating, and you can’t hit the brakes.”

Up to 75% of individuals with BPD attempt suicide. Sadly, up to 10% of those succeed.

Speakers with lived BPD experience will be featured in the program, including Stacy Pershall, author ofLoud in the House of Myself; Syanne Centeno, former Miss Maryland;Carissa Wright, BPD Advocate from Western Australia, and members of the Emotions Matter Peer Leadership team.

Sponsors for this event include New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Brooklyn Minds, Clearview Treatment Center, Acadia Health Care, Koved Care, and the North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorders, and the New England Personality Disorder Association.  

To register or for further walk information:

For more information contact:

Paula Tusiani-Eng

Executive Director, Emotions Matter

(516) 350-8387 (work)

(516) 456-3174 (cell)

Interviews with clinicians about BPD and lived experience speakers upon request.

Emotions Matter, Inc., is a non-profit 501c3 organization (2015) dedicated to empowering individuals impacted by BPD and to raise awareness and advocate for their mental health care.


Walking for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): A Grassroots Effort to Establish (BPD) as Mental Health Priority.

When doctors told my sister Pamela about her borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis in 1998 at the age of 19, she wrote in her diaries, “I wish I knew what was wrong with me.  The doctor doesn’t even know my diagnosis, which scares me. I am sick and need to be helped and treated correctly.”

In 1980, when BPD became an official mental health diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III.  Nine criteria were identified, including a pattern of unstable relationships, an unstable self-image, impulsivity, fears of abandonment, and self-harm.  

Current research shows that BPD is mental disorder caused by neurological impairment in the part of the brain that regulates emotions, thoughts and impulses.  But many clinical professionals still lack sufficient education and training to properly treat it.

“Is it a real diagnosis, or just a character flaw?” some say, failing to legitimize personality disorders which don’t respond to traditional therapies or medications.   Others dismiss BPD patients as “difficult or overly dramatic,” leading to misdiagnosis. Sadly, up to 70 percent of those diagnosed with BPD attempt suicide, and 10 percent succeed.

Pamela instinctively knew she needed better care.  But the resources were scant in the late 1990’s.  There weren’t enough long-term facilities, or doctors to treat her BPD symptoms.  Sadly, Pamela lost her life in 2001 due to a rare side effect of the medication she was on.

Thankfully, 17 years later, things have improved for individuals with BPD.  New evidence-based treatments exist, such as dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization, transference-focused therapy, and general psychiatric management.  Family treatments and educational workshops are now available.  

But what good is effective treatment when most of the population can’t get it?  Discrimination against BPD unfortunately still exists in society.

Individuals with BPD are routinely denied treatment coverage by health insurance companies. Individuals with BPD are routinely turned away by clinicians who won’t treatment them.  Individuals with BPD are routinely penalized at work, in court, or social service agencies who fail to recognize their serious mental illness as a disability which impairs their functioning.

BPD remains on the outside of federal mental health policy and funding.  And innocent victims, like my sister, and so many more are still suffering – and dying from it.

Emotions Matter, Inc., a 501c3 organization dedicated to BPD advocacy, will be organizing the first ever Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder on Sunday, May 20, 2018, Hudson River Park, Pier 40 in New York City.  A grassroots group of individuals, families and clinicians will be walking along the border of New York and New Jersey, to say that BPD must cross over the border to the center of mental health.  

Speakers with lived BPD experience will be featured, including Stacy Pershall, author of Loud in the House of Myself; Syanne Centeno, former Miss Maryland;Carissa Wright, BPD Advocate from Western Australia, and members of the Emotions Matter Peer Leadership team.

For further walk information:

If my sister was alive today, I would respond to her diary entry the way I respond to individuals with BPD who reach out to Emotions Matter:  “Pamela, you don’t have to be afraid about what is going on in your brain.   I know it’s scary and feels awful right now, but we know what borderline personality disorder is, and there are trained clinicians who can help you. Treatment and community support exist, and you can access it.  You can get better.”

Until I can say those words with integrity, knowing that every individual suffering from BPD can actually get the mental health care and community support they need, our work continues to establish borderline personality disorder as a mental health priority.  Lives depend on it.

About the author:  Paula Tusiani-Eng, M.Div., LMSW, is Executive Director of Emotion Matter, Inc., a non-profit 501c3 organization (2015) dedicated to empowering individuals impacted by BPD and to raise awareness and advocate for their mental health care.  She co-authored Remnants of a Life on Paper: A Mother and Daughter’s Struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder(Barqoue press, 2013).