Dr Judith Varley

I am an activist for social justice and a biologist, biochemist, and microbiologist (BSc, MSc, PhD)

I have always worked in various aspects of practical laboratory based health research, in cancer, toxicology, and the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases in human and veterinary medical sciences with the MRC and in institutions in the universities of London and Liverpool.

I am a founder member of Gingerbread and lobbied for and obtained changes in the law to better support single parent families; my first active engagement in social justice.

In the last 18 years, I have been involved with ISPS-UK, (The International Society for the Psychological Treatment of Psychoses).  This Society has been an invaluable educational and personal resource enabling me to press authoritatively for improvements in mental health services to support recovery.  In particular, earlier and more psychosocial and enlightened interventions, beyond the established pharmaceutical, have a strong  evidence base, as has recognising the significance of addressing underlying causes of mental problems, like trauma.  In addition, a much closer liaison for action and co-operation as equals between mental health professionals, families and patients / service users, those with first hand long term knowledge of the person, achieves the best outcomes for service user, his close associates and for services too.  This means genuinely implementing Family Work, Triangle of Care and Open Dialogue approaches.  Unfortunately although these interventions are known, they are not widely adopted in this country.  Where they are, they transform outcomes.  More enlightened approaches are ever more important in the current crisis, as continuing austerity policies adversely affect the most vulnerable adults and children, whilst services and funding are reduced, and knowledgeable, committed professional mental health NHS staff leave.

I attended the MA COPE (Collaboration in Psychosocial Education) course at Manchester University, learning the complexities of different assessments and therapies for mental ill-health.

I was an elected delegate to the Mental Health Improvement Programme for the North West from 2005/6 – 2010 when funding ceased, and I contributed in the IMRoC organisations for 4 – 5 years.  I am a participant in the NW Coast CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) currently preparing a mental health research project bid.  I am a founder member of the Wirral charity, Family Tree, which educates and supports families of those with mental health diagnoses.  I have attended numerous short courses relevant to mental health organised by the Royal College of Psychology, Family Tree, the local MIND, universities and other

I put a business plan together and raised £300,000 to produce a social enterprise providing paid employment for people recovering from mental health problems.

I was a committee member of ISPS-UK between 2006 – 2017, contributing to conferences, seminars, book chapters, Hearing Voices and advocating more enlightened effective therapies.  I was a member of the West Midlands MHRN project review team (2008 – 2014) reviewing and modifying research proposals to ensure their relevance to benefiting service users and informal / family carers.

I have personal experience of diabetes, cancer, deafness, dementia, physical and mental disabilities in family, friends or myself

I am an active member of Keep our NHS Public, and Defend our NHS groups and have been a member of the SHA for some years.