Brief profile : e.g. who you are, what you do
I’m employed as a Nurse Consultant in Islington. I also work with the Butabika East London Link (an NHS Mental Health Link with Uganda). I’m a parent of two girls (6&3).I see people who feel stuck to see if I can help them find some freedom of mind and action, I train (I’m a big fan of the Tree of Life), I link people and resources, I try to coax good ideas into reality, I get the smoothies ready each morning, tell bedtime stories, run around the park a couple of times a week, cycle all around North London
What has been your most notable radical accomplishment or experience?
My work in Uganda has been the most highlighted and the long process of going from meeting patients of Butabika Hospital in 2005 and seeing how little influence they had on mental health services to co-running the first Ugandan Mental Health Peer Worker Programme in Kampala in 2012 has been inspiring.https://youtu.be/d40zY0sEJLY
That said, probably the most radical accomplishment is my own sanity. I’ve spent a lot of years with a pretty constant meditation practice and I’ve moved from a pretty messy and conflicted mental state to one with a good deal more equanimity and positivity. I’m getting to the stage where I feel so much more like a worthy resource to people
When did you first realise that you are a health & care radical?
My radicalism is more about a willingness to act from an ethical place. A willingness to have a go but with open, authentic communication and an open heart. I don’t know if I am a radical or just really lucky!
What advice do you wish someone had given you earlier in your career?
I’m pretty sure I got all the advice I needed. If there was something that I could have had emphasised, perhaps it would be to have encouraged me to be more assertive about finding out about difficult home situations. A client of mine died in 1999 due to violence in his domestic situation and I had not been alert enough to the realities of his home situation. It was a form of learning I wish I had not had.
What is your favourite radical characteristic?
What is your favourite question?
What do you mean when you say that?
What one clue tells you you’re affecting positive change?
I’m a real believer in holding steady with different (sometimes conflicting) elements of my life as a way to forge a more integrated approach. It’s a long journey but I see various threads coming together around peer working, coproduction, learning from stories of resilience (whether Ugandan, whether through mental distress). There is a synchronicity that arises where fabulous people meet and find ways to work together
That’s the complex answer. The simple answer is that I see my Ugandan friends Elizabeth making fabulous, creative beads for selling, Eddie running a programme, I see people I’m working with move in the direction that is important to them, I see my daughters smile, laugh and be sensitive to others
What do you think it’s most important for people to understand about radicals?
They could do with support and positive mentoring. We appear confident and yet we share the same vulnerability and questions about our abilities. Sometimes we are left too much alone that we don’t get utilised wellAlso, at least for me, bringing positive changes starts with conversations and naivety so have the patience to bring us up to speed so we can make the connections between different opportunities and challenges.
What’s your one word piece of advice for radicals?
What’s your one word piece of advice for non-radicals?
Where do you think radicals are most needed today?
My hearts sings around mental health so of course that feels key but there is a need to make the connection with political and environmental aspects of health. This unsustainable approach to earth’s resources and hostile relationships with ‘other’ need a fierce and compassionate response from radicals.
Who is your favourite radical from the past 100 years?
Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert) is pretty amazing. He has long served raising awareness and helping others. His current efforts to share his learning as he ages is inspiring
What’s the one thing you should never say to a radical?
Our system is not set up to do that
How do you rate yourself as a radical?
Occasions of freely chosen action per month