Joe Tracini: what did Hollyoaks actor say on This Morning about borderline personality disorder - what is BPD?

Hollyoaks actor Joe Tracini spoke candidly about living with borderline personality disorder on This Morning

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*Trigger warning - this article contains discussion of suicide attempts*

Actor Joe Tracini spoke about his mental health battle on This Morning this week, and talked honestly about past suicide attempts and how living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) has affected him.

Joe TraciniJoe Tracini
Joe Tracini

Who is Joe Tracini?

Joe Tracini, 34, is an actor and author from the coastal town of Great Yarmouth - he is best known for playing Dennis Savage in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks from 2011 to 2014, and again briefly in 2018.

His father is the comedian and presenter Joe Pasquale, who won the 2004 series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Joe has over 260,000 followers on Twitter and regularly posts comedy videos aimed at spreading awareness of what living with BPD is like. The actor released his debut book, Ten Things I Hate About Me, which is about his life with BPD, in September. Comedian Dawn French and Miriam Margolyes praised the book - Margolyes said “It’s very funny and sad and utterly true. It’s a life-saver”.

What did Joe Tracini say on This Morning?

Joe Tracini spoke to This Morning presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary on Wednesday (19 October) and opened up about living with BPD and new book Ten Things I Hate About Me.

Alison asked the performer: ‘15% of people with BPD [die by] suicide and 40% attempt to [die by] suicide and you’re trying to live in the obviously the 40% is that right?’

Joe Tracini played Dennis Savage on HollyoaksJoe Tracini played Dennis Savage on Hollyoaks
Joe Tracini played Dennis Savage on Hollyoaks

Joe spoke honestly about his mental health struggles, telling Alison: “I’ve tried to take my own life technically five times, but four of those were sort of like halfway. But I do know that I was going to take my own life because I was tired.

“I wasn’t suicidal at that point. They are different things being suicidal is a mindset, not an event. So I am suicidal now in the fact that I think those thoughts regularly throughout day.”

Dermot asked Joe how he dampens those thoughts down - Joe said: “I don’t, I can’t. I’ve tried. But again, I’ve sorted all of the things anybody told me would be a problem, and I still didn’t like me.”

Joe explained that on one occasion he took an overdose and then called an ambulance, and on another he found himself on the wrong side of a bridge, but didn’t jump.

What is borderline personality disorder?

BPD is a personality disorder that affects how a person thinks and feels, and how they relate to those around them. The symptoms of BPD include emotional instability, disturbed patterns of thinking, a change in perception of the world and others, and impulsive behaviour.

People with BPD often have unstable relationships with those close to them as a result of these symptoms. A specific cause of BPD has not been identified but many people with the condition will have experienced trauma or neglect as a child.

It is estimated that up to 10% of people diagnosed with BPD will take their own lives, but there are a range of treatment options available for people with BPD. Mental health treatments such as psychotherapy are often used to treat the condition.