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Today Australia’s mental health system is under stress and not fit for purpose. What is to be done? In this brilliant mix of portraiture and analysis, Sarah Krasnostein tells the stories of three women and their treatment by the state while at their most unwell. What do their experiences tell us about the likelihood of institutional and cultural change? Krasnostein argues that we live in a society that often punishes vulnerability, but shows we have the resources to mend a broken system. But do we have the will to do so. This essay highlights that people can recover from borderline personality disorder (BPD) if they can access evidence-based treatment. However, its absence impacts on all the other systems such as housing and homelessness, prisons, police and family violence etc.