This year – for the first time – the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) has added borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a priority illness. This is really great news, coming at a time when lack of funding has lead many new scientists to turn their attention from BPD to other illnesses.
We at Families for Borderline Personality Disorder Research applaud the Foundation’s decision. BBRF supports the most promising ground-breaking mental illness research. We are greatly encouraged about possible research advances and how these advances could brighten the future of our loved ones.
Families for BPD Research was founded with the mission of supporting increased BPD research. It had its origin as a grassroots group of family members brought together by enormous concern for those with BPD. Over several years, we met and talked with many in the mental health field and discovered that research is the best hope to help our relatives and so many others cope with and recover from this devastating disorder. As one donor family poignantly stated:
“Research in neurobiology would be one of the most important things to us. Something happens in the brain; if they can figure out exactly WHAT, maybe they can figure out how to cure it or how to prevent it from happening in the first place… We are determined to do what we can to help keep others from experiencing what Brice and our family have experienced.” – Susan and Craig Clendening (parents)
However, supporting new investigators is vital to furthering research in BPD. In 2011, Families for BPD Research was fortunate to establish a Research Partnership with BBRF to fund Young Investigator Grants. This created an opportunity where donations to Families for BPD Research go directly to BBRF to be awarded to talented young BPD researchers. The Young Investigator Grant is a prestigious award that greatly enhances a researcher’s career path and helps him or her qualify for subsequent grants from other sources, such as the National Institute of Mental Health.
Funding is pivotal for increasing the small number of young BPD investigators, and achieving research breakthroughs in the disorder. Dr. Emily Ansell, one of the many YIs whom we have funded through our partnership, states the dire situation succinctly in a letter to us:
“My grant proposal has been in search of a “funding home” but had been met by a great deal of skepticism for its novelty and its focus on BPD patients. BPD research is so severely under-funded that many of us who are early in our careers are often frustrated to the point of setting aside research proposals on BPD in favor of other avenues. This proposal would have met the same fate if it were not for your participation in the Researcher Partners Program.”
We are very grateful for BBRF’s increasing focus on BPD, including educational annual BPD webinars, as well as the establishment of our Research Partnership, and most recently the addition of BPD as a priority illness.