LifeBST Explained

Life Behavioral Skills Training or LifeBST is a set of coping skills based on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT. Historically, DBT has been found extremely effective in treating patients suffering with Borderline Personality Traits (BPT, the term used in children under 18), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD, the term used in adults), suicidal ideation, or are engaged in self harm. While genetic predisposition is a possiblity, these mental health issues are typically caused by adverse life events for which the individual experiencing them does not have adequate coping skills. As a result of the trauma caused by these adverse life events, the individual often ends up exhibiting signs of these mental health issues later in childhood or adulthood.

Currently, one in four (25%) children and young adults ages 10 to 24 have seriously considered suicide. Sixty percent (60%) of children and young adults in that age group have engaged in self harm at least once. Eighty-three percent (83%) children and young adults who engaged in self harm once now engage in self harm on a continuing and regular basis. While those statistics are staggering, we believe that the prevalance of suicidal ideation and self harm is higher.

BPT and BPD are also often the result of traumatic life events and frequently lead to self harm and suicidal ideation. In study of children ages 12 - 14, 6.3% were found to have BPT.1 In the United States, 1.4% of the population, more than 4,200,000 people, are diagnosed with BPD. Again, we believe these statistics are low because 40% of those diagnosed with BPD were misdiagnosed as suffering from other mental health disorders first.Those who suffer from BPD also typically suffer from other mental health disorders as well. More than sixty percent (60.5%) also suffer from an anxiety disorder; 34.3% also suffer from a mood disorder; 49% also suffer from an impulse control disorder; and 38.2% also suffer from a substance abuse disorder.2 Finally, 70% of those with BPD will attempt suicide at least once in their lifetimes.

As with most medical and mental health issues, treatment is typically reactive. An individual starts exhibiting the behavioral signs of BPT or BPD, talks about or attempts suicide, or is engaged in self harm which others may or may not know about. After the individual starts exhibiting these behaviors they seek help, their friends seek help for them, or in the case of a child, parents seek help. It is then that treatment begins. The problem with this treatent model is that only 39% of individuals with personality disorders seek treatment,2 the individuals suffering from these issues have typically been suffering for many years, and for some, their attempts at suicide are successful. It is because of these facts that LifeBST was created.

LifeBST, an evidence based initiative of Families Renewed, Inc., is being created in conjunction with our team of educators and mental health professionals. LifeBST takes the coping skills and techniques of DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and translates them into an age appropriate curriculum to be included in the K - 12 curriculum for public schools, private schools, and home school programs. In addition to developing the curriculum, we are working with scholastic publishers to ensure these techniques and skills are reinforced in other disciplines as well. LifeBST also includes resources and education for teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, and the community at large. If children learn these coping skills and techniques throughout their childhood, they will be better equipped to cope with the adverse life events that would otherwise cause mental health issues. Ultimately, within ten years after LifeBST is implemented the rates of suicide, self harm, BPT an BPD are expected to decline dramatically saving the lives and reducing the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people.

1Guilé JM, Zavaglia E, Berthiaume C, Bergeron L. Prevalence and comorbidity of borderline personality traits in the Quebec general population aged 12-14 years. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2021 Mar 21. doi: 10.1007/s00127-021-02067-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33745001.

2Lenzenweger MF, Lane MC, Loranger AW, Kessler RC. DSM-IV personality disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Sep 15;62(6):553-64. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.09.019. Epub 2007 Jan 9. PMID: 17217923; PMCID: PMC2044500.