Hundreds walk to raise funds, awareness about Borderline Personality Disorder

On Sunday, hundreds gathered in Toronto to support the work of The Sashbear Foundation at the fifth annual Borderline 5-Kilometre Walk for Emotion Dysregulation.

Sashbear Foundation honours young Toronto woman who died in 2011

Lynn Courey and Mike Menu at the 5th Annual Borderline walk for Emotion Dysregulation on Sunday. It's the signature event of the Sashbear Foundation, created by the Toronto couple in honour of their daughter Sasha Menu Courey, who died in 2011 at the age of 20. (CBC News)

On Sunday, hundreds gathered in Toronto to support the work of The Sashbear Foundation at the fifth annual Borderline 5-Kilometre Walk for Emotion Dysregulation.

Created by Lynn Courey and Mike Menu, the foundation is named in honour of the Toronto couple's daughter Sasha Menu Courey, who died by suicide in 2011 at the age of 20.

"Sasha was struggling with mental health issues... as parents, we didn't know much about mental health issues, and when we tried to seek help, help wasn't available for her or for us," Courey said on Sunday.

Sasha Menu Courey in 2010. She committed suicide not long after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. (University of Missouri Athletic Department/Associated Press)

Menu Courey killed herself in a Boston psychiatric hospital two months after an earlier suicide attempt, and shortly after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

A serious condition marked by instability in moods and behavior, BPD often leads to intense episodes of anger, anxiety and depression, and can cause unstable relationships. 

The foundation named in Menu Courey's honour, "Sashbear," is a reference to Menu Courey's penchant for bear hugs, and aims to raise both funds and awareness for the disorder.

"We have to break the stigma. We have to show our support that they're not alone. Together, we can transform the system," said Courey.

A big push for the organization is providing family members with the skills needed to support loved ones with the disorder, including the Family Connections initiative — a group program to provide education, skills training, and support for people who are in a relationship with someone who has emotion dysregulation or related problems. 

"We're trying to expand these really valuable skills across the country," said Menu.