$5.5 million funding boost for Project Air Strategy

Project to offer state-wide support for people experiencing personality disorders

Adolescents, adults, and their families and friends, will have better access to mental health support for personality disorders through the expansion of the award-winning Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders, a collaboration between the NSW Government and the University of Wollongong.

On Sunday (22 July), the New South Wales Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies announced an additional $5.5 million over five years for Project Air Strategy to ensure earlier diagnosis of personality disorders and help reduce time spent in hospital due to more tailored treatments.

“We are seeing this unique project significantly reduce presentations to emergency departments and shorten hospital stays, because the right help is getting to people faster,” Mrs Davies said.

The Project Air Strategy seeks to engage the community, families, carers, consumers, and health, drug and alcohol services and agencies, to support better treatments for people with personality disorders and their families and carers.

Project Air Strategy Director and founder Professor Brin Grenyer (pictured above), from the University of Wollongong’s School of Psychology, said in NSW almost half a million people would meet diagnostic criteria for a personality disorder, with about 75,000 people in NSW actively seeking care at any one time.

“The disorder often first appears during the schooling years, peaks in the early 20s and 30s and can be very distressing for the person and others around them. It can significantly impact their relationships, work and study,” Professor Grenyer said.

The Project Air Strategy includes:

  • Ongoing training for health staff on managing affected people and carers;
  • The Gold Card Clinic initiative to help consumers move from emergency departments, to treatment in the community; and 
  • The establishment of ongoing resources for health professionals via the ‘Air Academy’ and online resources for families and carers.

Project Air is already operational in 11 NSW local health districts and one network. The additional funding will enable it to be rolled out in the remaining four LHDs of Nepean Blue Mountains, Southern NSW, Murrumbidgee and Hunter New England by 2020.

People experiencing a personality disorder - such as borderline, antisocial, narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive - represent about 25 per cent of mental health presentations to emergency departments and admissions to the State’s mental health inpatient units.

Treatment involves tailored evidence-based psychological therapy, to help the person understand their feelings and improve relationships with loved ones.

The new funding brings the NSW Government’s investment in the Project Air Strategy to more than $11 million since 2011.

If you, or someone you know, needs crisis support phone Lifeline 13 11 14. For more information about the Project Air Strategy, visit