Inaugural Hocking Fellowship Named
10 June 2014 at 10:28 am
The inaugural Hocking Fellowship has been awarded to Western Australia's Sonia Neale, who will receive a grant from the national mental health charity, SANE Australia, to promote understanding and services for people affected by borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Sonia Neale, a Mental Health Peer Support Worker in Perth with personal experience of BPD, will travel to Europe and the United States to study world-leading treatments for the condition, including dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness, and peer support programs.
Sane Australia says 70 applications were received for the inaugural Fellowship which celebrates the contribution of Barbara Hocking OAM (Executive Director of SANE Australia 1995-2012) in her work towards a better life for all people affected by mental illness.
“It is an honour to be chosen for SANE's Hocking Fellowship. I feel privileged to receive the award which will enable me to embark on several creative initiatives supporting people with BPD,” Neale said.
Neale will visit leading mental health experts at the University of Washington, the University of Massachusetts, the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, and the Peer-to-Peer and Connection services run by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
“My work will focus on establishing new services to support people, destigmatising BPD, as well as debunking age-old myths and stereotypes of what people living with BPD look and behave like,” she said.
“Australia has some great general and illness-specific mental health services that help many people achieve recovery, but there appears to be a scarcity of support and resources dedicated to people suffering from BPD who make up around 2-6 per cent of the population.”
As well as investigating best-practice initiatives, Sonia Neale will work with SANE Australia to improve understanding and support for those affected by BPD through development of information resources and services in this area, including involvement in SANE's new online peer-support forums being launched later this year.