Right now, Hincks is working with health care professionals to develop a system that manages the symptoms of BPD in adolescents and offers support to their families. Duncan’s hope is that early intervention will mean effective treatment before things get out of control. “We hope to avoid the emergency visits, avoid families having to go to the US for treatment,” Ms. Duncan said. “And we have to stop kids trying to kill themselves. To have to hear a child come and tell you that they don’t want to live, no parent should ever have to hear that. Never.”
There are some signs that things may be changing. The Duff family appealed the decision of OHIP not to pay for their daughter’s treatment cost in the U.S. They won, the approximately $70,000 cost will be refunded. And BPD is being pushed into the public eye like never before, mostly by families who have had first hand experience with it. The Courey family for example. Sasha Courey was an elite Canadian athlete who swam for an American university. She first attempted suicide when she was 16 but it would be four years before she was diagnosed with BPD. Shortly after that, she ended her life. Her family believes that with an earlier diagnosis and treatment, Sasha would be alive today. They started what is called the Sashbear Foundation to raise public awareness. Every year, they hold a walk along the shores of Lake Ontario. Hundreds attend.
And there are young people like Katherine Duff willing to be public. Most people probably would find it difficult to sit in front of a television camera and be interviewed. Yet she agreed to speak to W5 about something as personal as her BPD, a condition she accepts may be part of her life forever.