When Lynn Courey and Mike Menu lost their 20-year-old daughter Sasha last year to a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)-related suicide, they were devastated. They spent years watching her struggle with her BPD symptoms, including several suicide attempts, and trying to get her the BPD treatment she desperately needed.
A star athlete and student, Sasha wasn’t able to overcome the impact that bullying, loss of close family members and friends, and injuries that affected her sports career had on her spirit. Though she and her parents didn’t learn that she had Borderline Personality Disorder until March 2011, she made her first suicide attempt in 2007. In June 2011, she ultimately took her own life.
“She had only one solution for her excruciating pain,” Lynn told attendees at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Annual Convention last month in Seattle. “She wanted to live. She desperately wanted to live. But she just couldn’t live with the excruciating pain she was feeling all the time.”
Lack of Access to BPD Treatment
Part of the reason Sasha couldn’t get past that excruciating pain was a lack of access to Borderline Personality Disorder treatment and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). When the Menu Coureys originally looked for BPD treatment for their daughter, there was a two-year wait where they reside in Canada.
They ultimately found a BPD treatment center in the United States that could provide the DBT skills Sasha needed to help her better manage her BPD symptoms. Tragically, by the time she entered BPD residential treatment, she decided she no longer wanted to be a burden to her family and made the decision to end her life.
Creating Hope for Families with BPD
In Sasha’s memory, the Menu Coureys created Sashbear.org as a way to raise awareness about Borderline Personality Disorder and increase access to BPD treatment for those who need it.
“We want to prevent other families from going through what we went through,” Lynn said. “I believe that all together we can improve access to treatment for BPD.”
That includes pushing for early and accessible BPD treatment, specifically Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Sashbear.org is currently working to get DBT skills taught in schools and help increase the availability of DBT services at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto.
The devastation of losing a child is one that can’t be matched. We commend the Menu Coureys for turning their loss into a chance for many other families with Borderline Personality Disorder to get the BPD treatment needed to survive the disorder.
Click here to see video of Lynn Courey at NAMI.
Click here to see video of Mike Menu at NAMI.