The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern
Ireland has welcomed publication of the Department of Health’s
strategy to help people with personality disorder.
Dr Philip McGarry, Chair of the Royal College
of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland, said: "Personality disorder
is misunderstood, and can make life very difficult for many people
and sometimes for those around them. However there is increasing
evidence that treatment can work and enable people to take
responsibility for their lives.
"People with this condition need help to
change long standing patterns of behaviour that frequently arise
from difficult circumstances or events in their childhood,
sometimes including physical or sexual abuse. People with
personality disorder often harm themselves as a way of coping with
their psychological pain. They are also over-represented in the
criminal justice system, and many battle with addictions."
A pilot psychotherapy service in Belfast for a
small group of people with personality disorder who self-harm has
been very successful, but Dr McGarry said that in general there is
very little in the way of services available in Northern Ireland,
and people who need intensive therapy are often sent to England for
He said: "We are obviously disappointed that
the budget cuts have resulted in less money than was originally
allocated to fund these services, but having a strategy in place
acknowledges that there are people who need help and sets a
framework for this. This is an excellent framework, not least
because the Department genuinely involved people with personality
disorder and families in putting it together. It will be up to
health Trusts and the prison service to find ways to implement
these guidelines, and it is essential that they use the money that
has been allocated to do this.
"Personality disorder carries an even greater stigma than many
other mental health disorders, and people can become marginalised
as some behaviours can be difficult to understand. We are delighted
that the Health Minister and his Department have acknowledged that
there is genuine need to provide treatment for this group of
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070