Jude Clarke 1967-2016
Jude Clarke was quite a force of nature. Despite her small stature and preference for understated dress, when she spoke, people took notice. I was Chair of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Pscyhology-Scotland when in 2010 we began the process of appointing our Service User Carer reps. Jude was by far the stand out candidate although it was with some slight trepidation that we offered her the position, as it was very clear from the interview that she would not hold back from challenging us as well as championing us. Looking back now however, over my time as Chair, that appointment is one of the things of which I am most proud. Jude brought such a huge energy and intellect to her role and to the DCP-S committee. She challenged us not only in the ways we had expected – such as pointing out how we had, in the throes of heated discussions about BPS or DCP protocol sometimes lost sight of the service user – but in ways we had not, e.g. by being very proactive in making suggestions about us as a committee, not just a profession, and challenging us about the roles and tasks that service user reps could take on.
Jude was a smart woman – she had been a geography teacher and was extremely well read – books being one of her passions. She had a very dry wit, which she could use to full effect when pointing out the foibles of a system or indeed of people who caught her eye. But she was also very self-deprecating, very caring and a huge champion of whoever she considered to be the underdog.
Jude was brilliant at involving people, connecting people and enthusing them. I am thinking of the time she was co-convenor of symposium “Effecting change through user and care voice” at 2014 DCP Conference, where she found a last minute replacement presenter (a young woman who has just started as a trainee clinical psychologist and has told me how much of an impact Jude had upon her) and persuaded her to present with only a few days notice. It was a very successful symposium and hugely well-attended – somewhat to Jude’s surprise I think.
I have many memories of Jude in her DCP-S role – of our first forays into Holyrood to meet MSPs, me slightly anxious about what Jude might say …but then learning quickly how great she was at speaking her mind while also being pretty astute and strategic and the powerful, positive impression she made. I recall one time sitting having a coffee on the Royal Mile, close to the Parliament, with Jude, doing some preparation for a meeting and hearing a tapping on the window – I looked up and there was Mary Scanlon MSP waving enthusiastically at Jude.
Jude was a big hit during her presentation at the DCP-S event at Surgeon’s Hall – where her timing, humour and message about Clinical Psychology and Mental Health both held the audience and garnered a compliment from Michael Mathieson, then Minister of Health.
It was because of working with Jude that, after I stepped down as Chair of DCP-S, I joined what was then the DCP UK Service User Carer Liaison Committee. Jude was already on this committee through her role as a DCP-S Rep and I was aware from her forthright reports of meetings that things were not always running smoothly. I was privileged that over the next couple of years I continued to work closely with Jude and some of the other DCP Service User and Carer Reps attempting to address the issues that had hampered the Service User Carer Liaison Committee and devise ways to support future service user and carer – by then called Experts by Experience - involvement in the DCP. Again Jude brought a strong voice to the debate, although she struggled at times not to take personally some of the committee dynamics (and to be fair to her some of them did on occasion become personal). Jude was not always an easy person to be with when she was passionate about her subject. She did not hold back from saying potentially unpalatable things, e.g. what she viewed as the DCP’s lack of clarity around financing the work of Experts by Experience. But looking back at the Minutes and Action Plans of the committee meetings from that time, Jude’s name is so prominent and her contribution so obviously large.
Jude’s activity wasn’t just confined to work within the DCP – she was very active in several organisations in Forth Valley (where she lived) and was Chair for a time of NHS Forth Valley Patient Public Panel Steering Group. She also created – because she saw a need – and ran the website “Heal the Whole of Me” which signposts people to mental health supports in the Forth Valley area.
Jude had a profile in national DCP work that went beyond the Service User Carer Liaison Committee – she was involved in a range of things. For example, I was proud to have worked with her on the Service User version of the DCP Formulation leaflet. Over many cups of tea she pushed me to come up with a description of the process of psychological formulation that she felt ordinary people would be able to relate to. The jigsaw piece analogy in the leaflet was one outcome of this. Jude also played a key role in the forthcoming DCP Publication on Depression. Gillian Bowden, the DCP Lead for this, has been fulsome in her praise of Jude’s contribution.
Jude wrote pieces for DCP-S Review and also in Clinical Psychology Forum. I’d like to quote a couple of things ….
“I learnt a long time ago to leave complicated things to those trained in life’s complexities but I feel infinitely well qualified to make suggestions about assets-based approaches and person-centredness; I am a person after all.
Perhaps there is one thing we would do well to remember when we are being bombarded by targets, directives and decrees from on high. Everything that we do in the field of health and social care should be done with the user and carer in mind. Doesn’t it make sense, therefore, to involve them every step of the way?” (DCP-Scotland, Issue 7 November 2012)
“I remain privileged to play the part I do in your profession here in Scotland. User and carer involvement will not go away now the common-sense genie has been let out of the bottle. To me, and to an ever-growing group of others, it makes absolute good sense to work together in all that we do; to build relationships that enable and empower; and to do the very best we can for each other, whether ‘user’, ‘carer’ or ‘provider’.” (DCP-Scotland Review, Issue 11, Winter 2014/2015)
Although my main focus here is Jude’s contribution to the DCP, I did over the years get to know her as a person. We lived near each other and would travel to DCP events together. I have lots of memories of journeys by train, planes and automobiles. Not all of them relaxed - I can definitely identify with the comment made at Jude’s funeral that she wasn’t a fan of the national speed limits.
For relaxation, Jude loved heading off in her camper van, describing holidays in remote parts of Scotland, just her and her beloved dogs. She had a strong religious faith and her church community was a core part of her life and identity.
As I said, Jude loved reading – her favourite book was Henry’s James’ Portrait of a Lady. She once told me that she thought all human characteristics were portrayed in it. She made it clear she thought my education was sadly lacking because I hadn’t read it, and sent me a copy after I stepped down from DCP committee work.
Jude’s daughter died last year and this was undoubtedly a major factor in her own death. Jude was very clear that psychological therapy and good multi-disciplinary working relations had been a huge benefit to her. In the end though, that experience, her faith, her family and the love of so many people who knew her were not enough. As Ruth Stocks said in her very eloquent recent Chair’s column, it is a sober reminder of how far we still have to go to help people with mental health problems.
Jude has left such a good legacy for our profession: for the DCP in Scotland, she has shaped our thinking about service user and carer work, she influenced our key public message and was very significant in raising our profile politically and helping us see what was possible; for the whole DCP she has shown us what real engagement and joint working with service users can look like and she has also shown us where we can do better.
She will be sorely missed.
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