Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Service User Network (SUN)

The Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Service User Network (SUN) is for service users with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder, or for those whose complex emotional needs mean they meet, or are within the threshold to meet, diagnostic criteria for Personality Disorder (i.e. they have ‘traits’). For example: risk of harm to self, impulsivity of behaviour, difficulty forming relationships, emotional dysregulation, impairment in perception of self and rigidity of thinking.

The network currently offers 2 services:

Personality Disorder and Complex Needs (PD&CN) Support and Awareness Group.
(referral required by medical professional)

In this group, service users and members of our Specialist Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Team meet fortnightly, currently via video on MS Teams.  Service users choose the topics of discussion and we invite guest speakers to join us and share their knowledge on local services and general health and wellbeing, as well as more specific topics relevant to service users particular struggles e.g. relationships – interpersonal dynamics; personality and emotions.  Service users can also take a turn at presenting, if they wish.

Our aim is to provide a service that acts as a layer of support for people (aged 18+) within Essex who have a formal diagnosis of Personality Disorder and/or have complex emotional needs that may meet diagnostic criteria*.   In order to join the group a referral form must be completed by a medical professional, please see ‘How to refer into the service’ below. We will review each referral on a case-by-case basis, to ensure the group is going to be appropriate and most helpful for the individual.

Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Service Development Collaborative.
(expression of interest)

Service users and SUN Managers meet once every 4 weeks, currently via video on MS Teams.  The collaborative offers people the opportunity to be more dynamically involved in shaping and developing services, using their lived experiences to inform positive change. There are various levels of engagement ranging from contributing thoughts and ideas for a specific project, to participating in interview panels, co-delivering training and being Peer Support Workers for other service users.

Service users work alongside staff to bring together their experiences and journeys and use them in a meaningful and proactive way to help shape our service. If you are interested in joining the collaborative please email , or you can ask your keyworker to email in on your behalf.

Hours of operation

Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00

How to refer into the service

Professionals should refer clients to the PD&CN Awareness and Support group by completing the referral form.  The group is open to anyone who meets the below criteria and they do not need to be a part of the SUN in order to attend.

Referal criteria:

  • Following a recent Personality Disorder diagnosis or undergoing assessment for a potential diagnosis (i.e., they may have ‘traits of’).
  • When they have been referred to structured psychological therapy (e.g. STEPPS/DBT) and/or are currently receiving therapy).
  • Have been discharged from an inpatient setting.
  • Have been accessing secondary mental health services for a period of time.
  • No longer require secondary mental health services but would benefit from continued support, in addition to that which is offered by their GP/PCN.

For a professional to refer, they must have the following information:

  • Service user’s full name.
  • Service users NHS number.
  • Locality/Area.
  • Service users email address.
  • An overview of their presenting difficulties.
  • What the service user hopes to gain from attending the group and whether they have any particular strengths/interests.
  • Full consent from the service user for the referral.

Exclusions from service:

  • Those who would not meet diagnostic criteria for Personality Disorder.
  • Those experiencing active psychosis and/or other psychotic disorder.
  • Currently an inpatient (referrals can be made at the point in which discharge is approaching, however the client will be unable to attend whilst on the ward).
  • They do not reside within Essex.