Mental health support for and telehealth use by Australians living with borderline personality disorder during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: A national study

Parvaneh Heidari, Jillian H. Broadbear, Rita Brown, Nitin P. Dharwadkar, Sathya Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To investigate mental health service use and telehealth experience of people living with BPD in Australia during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An online survey was used to collect data from people who self-identified with a diagnosis of BPD. Results: One hundred and sixty-nine survey responses were included in the analysis. More than half of participants acknowledged receiving information from their health service about resources that they could use if they become distressed. More than 70% of participants used telehealth for receiving mental health services; the majority used telehealth to consult a psychologist or to obtain prescriptions. Telehealth sessions were conducted over the phone, via videoconferencing, or using a mix of the two. While using telehealth, some participants found it more difficult to control their impulses to self-harm, to express thoughts about self-harm and suicide, to control feelings of anger, and to establish and maintain agreed treatment boundaries. Thematic analysis of participants’ experiences of telehealth identified five main themes: Communication challenges, Technology challenges, Privacy concerns, Benefits of telehealth, and Personal preferences. Conclusion: The study findings revealed a variety of positive and negative consumer experiences. While the majority of participants found telehealth somewhat benefitted their mental health, challenges were also reported which raise concerns about the broader utility and effectiveness of telehealth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Australia
  • borderline personality disorder
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • personality disorder
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

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