How can I help a friend or relative who has borderline personality disorder?
If you know someone who has borderline personality disorder, it affects you, too.
The first and most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with your friend or relative to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment or to seek different treatment if symptoms do not appear to improve with the current treatment.
To help a friend or relative you can:
Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement — change can be difficult and frightening to people with borderline personality disorder, but it is possible for them to get better over time
Learn about mental disorders, including borderline personality disorder, so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing
With permission from your friend or relative, talk with his or her therapist to learn about therapies that may involve family members, such as DBT-FST.
Never ignore comments about someone’s intent or plan to harm himself or herself or someone else. Report such comments to the person’s therapist or doctor. In urgent or potentially life-threatening situations, you may need to call the police.
What if I or someone I know is in crisis?
If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is:
Call your doctor.
Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
If you are in a crisis, make sure you are not left alone.
If someone else is in a crisis, make sure he or she is not left alone.
You can also check the phone book under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” “hotlines,” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor can provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.