Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 01-18-2010 by
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
Judi Chamberlin
October 30 1944 - January 16 2010

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03-31-2010 7:39 PM -- By: Kathy Stemke,  From: New Orleans, La  

I heard Judi speak at a conference in New Mexico about 15 yrs ago that was put on by NEC for "professionals". I want you to know that the conference forever changed my life. I was 26 years old and had recently gotten my Master's In Social Work. I continue to refer to that conference in my professional life. It was the most powerful conference I have ever attended. I am truely grateful for the work that Judi has done to improve the treatment for people who have a mental illness. When I speak to "professionals" on ways to "engage", help and speak to clients, I use the knowledge I obtained from her. She will forever live on. THank you for sharing your experiences. Glad you are at peace.

03-25-2010 6:55 PM -- By: Elizabeth Turner,  From: Montgomery, Alabama  

I am a former director of the National Mental Health Consumer Association and met Judi at several conferences where we were both pioneers and speakers.  She was an inspiration that adversity and standing up for your beliefs in wellness even if it is against the traditional norms was okay.  It is with this inspiration I keep fighting regarding diagnostic errors in brain disorders and parenting rights for those with mental disabilities.  Most recently, I discovered the paraquat spraying of tobacco and marijuana that causes suicidal thinking and lung disease and with this I will continue to address the exploitation of persons with mental disabilities as a human rights matter for citizens world wide.  Thank you Judi for being with us as we will remain connected always.

03-23-2010 11:42 AM -- By: Patty Burke,  From: Manchester, CT  

Judi's life has been an inspiration to me.  I am saddened by her untimely passing.

03-22-2010 12:25 PM -- By: Mel,  From: Australia  

Im a nursing student, I found your memorial and your blog insightful and real.

I have a hard time with recent bereavement myself and depression (double whammy) and are looking at transferring universities (maybe a change of scene will help). It hit home for me why I shouldn't drop out of my course altogether reading your blog.

Your memorial and blog reinterated what I really can't learn at school - to learn to contribute to the whole health of a person, not just fill out a bunch of forms and conduct routine tasks.

Marty, she really is your Angel.


03-11-2010 1:00 PM -- By: Rachel,  From: NJ  

A presenter in my palliative care class (graduate nursing program) shared the link to Judi's blog. The past several days, I've read it from beginning to end and have learned so much. Judi was able to personify concepts and I have such a greater understanding of COPD, fatigue, dyspena, and end-of-life in general. Thank you, Judi, for helping me to become a better nurse.

02-26-2010 9:16 PM -- By: Sarah,  From: Vermont  

In researching hospice options for a friend of mine, I came across Judi's blog and was saddened to learn of her passing. In an odd way, it feels like coming full circle with her, although I never met her, I was heavily influenced and inspired by her work when I was working on my thesis on community mental health care and deinstitutionalization, and her work became even more relevant to my life as I've dealt with my mother's mental illness over many years.

Judi's clear and honest voice rings as true in her last writings as it did in her earlier work, and I am pleased to know that she was an advocate all the way to the end. I am eternally grateful for her role in shaping my thinking about the inherent dignity and worth of every human. Her influence is likely far greater than any of us will ever know.

My sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

02-22-2010 2:44 PM -- By: Florence Katz,  From:  

It is so hard to say goodbye to my dear friend and neice, Judi.  We were kindred souls in so many ways, so alike in our ways and ways of thiinking.  She was so realistic about her illness and now that she is gone she has left a hole in my life.  I love her.  Florence


02-21-2010 7:58 PM -- By: John Disque,  From: Earth  

 Your life, your legacy, your beauty, courage and strength will forever live.

What a difference you made in this screwed up world!!

Thanks Judi! 

: ) 

02-21-2010 4:14 PM -- By: Shaun McNeil,  From: Scotland  

An inspiring fellow mental health survivor who, although I only met her briefly, through her writing she will always have a small place in my heart.

02-21-2010 3:33 PM -- By: Joanie Hieger Zosike,  From: New York  

Judi was a cousin three or four times removed, and certainly a kindred spirit. She was my big Cousin Judi when I was a kid. Then we re-met when I was in my late 20s, and had a lot of enjoyable times and serious discussions together, hanging out at Florence's house in Long Island. I learned so much from Judi about the core ethics of her work, and she was a constant enlightenment, and enlighten-er. She was a significant person in my life, even if life's exigencies and career stuff kept us somewhat out of touch as the years passed. I was really happy when my brother and Bobby and I were in Boston presenting a theatre workshop at Emerson College with The Living Theatre, were able to get together with both Judi and Florence. Their rich, full friendship was really a wonder to behold. Sharing in their delight for words, word play, and world events with them was a terrific moment in that Boston visit. I have some photos somewhere which, if I can locate them, I will post. Finally, to say that during Judi's last year or so, I was so struck by her gallow's humor and personal strength. The idea of having a "Celebration" of her lifetime that she good attend was so Judi. We spoke on the phone infrequently, as this was difficult for her, but she was always gracious and loving despite her personal discomfort. I look at this photo above and tears come to my eyes to think she's gone, even as she looks so vivid and dynamic in this photo. Vivid and dynamic is how I will always remember her, knowing the legacy she has left, and the many lives she has touched and helped to transform.

02-17-2010 7:50 PM -- By: Wendy Ginsberg-Ducker, CPRP,  From: Consumer Link of MHA of Nassau Cty, NY  

Thank you, Judi, for being such a passionate advocate and for taking action to improve treatment of all of us people recovering from mental illnesses. I have always found the writings of  your personal experiences with mental illness to be so inspiring as did the self-help support groups I facilitate.  My heart goes out to you also because my mother passed away early last year from the same illness that you did-COPD.

02-15-2010 1:18 PM -- By: Margie (Ambrosino) McGuire,  From: Originally, Elmhurst, NY  

I was Judi's friend in the early 1970's and lost touch with her at the end of that tumultuous life transforming decade. At the time I was alone with 3 daughters under 5 and we never met Julie, only by photographs. Judi loved to brush my hair and tell me I was wonderful and I would say no, I was a terrible person because I screamed a great deal at the girls bedtime. She would remind me of the hundreds of loving tasks I did all day and what a good person I am. I was her friend and I let it float away and now she is gone and I am terribly saddened that I have to say goodbye electronically.  Margie McGuire - margieclare@optonline.net

02-15-2010 12:04 AM -- By: heidi,  From: detroit  

God Bless.......

02-10-2010 1:44 PM -- By: Bill McAdams,  From: Pennsylvania  

02-03-2010 6:34 PM -- By: Mary Simmons,  From: Santa Rosa, CA  

Judi's inspiration was so wide-spread. She was one of my heroes. I worked for 13 years at a Consumer-run Center and I have tried to keep the concept of self-help alive. Judi will be missed but certainly not forgotten.

02-03-2010 4:28 AM -- By: Hiroyuki Yamaguchi,  From: Osaka, Japan  

To Judi and her friends,

We heard, on January 17th, that Judi had passed away the day before. One of our members, Toshiko Morikawa wrote a memorial article (posted in this site) for our newsletter. Another member, who was working at a publishing company and was involved in the publication of the Japanese version of On Our Own, asked me to write this memorial message instead of him. (I regret to say that he can’t write a message directly because of some personal difficult situations about his health. He has been involved in the consumer/survivor movement being inspired very much from Judi.)

   I do not simply think that Judi died of her physical ebb or the result of hectic struggle with unreasonable social oppression. I think that Judi has “completed her life while accepting” her physical ebb or the struggle with unreasonable social oppression. I think so.

   I would like to give my sincere respect affectionately to all the people who watched and supported her “living life”, including her partner, the other family members, and the colleagues and the peers. I think all you respected her “unique” living life. Also I respect Judi who enjoyed the “living responses” (including an e-mail) from you to her “living life”. I think that it became possible because of her love.

   In Japanese, when we make a farewell, we say “Sayonara”. This word has a meaning that “If I should do so, …”. ( I heard that English expression “Good by” is a word of pray originally which means “God be with you”.)

   I have much to regret. But “if I should do” accepting the farewell, I will say “Sayonara”.


02-02-2010 10:27 PM -- By: Susan Chandler,  From: San Luis Obispo, CA  

I applaud Judi's efforts for people with mental health disabilities.  No One should be discriminated against for any reason.  I'm glad that she was a great advocate!

02-02-2010 12:40 AM -- By: Bochi Bochi Club,  From: Osaka, Jaoan  

We are Bochi Bochi Club (formally, Osaka Seishin-shougaisha Renrakukai), 100 percent consumer/survivor-run organization in Osaka, Japan, established in 1993. Our motto is "Eliminate Isolation and Loneliness!" Our activities include sharing meetings, a drop-in center, and advocacy for rights. The latest issue of our newsletter has an article for memory of Judi. The article is as follows. We would like to dedicate it to Judi.

In Memory of Judi Chamberlin

by Toshiko Morikawa

On January 16th, Judi Chamberlin has passed away.

Judi is one of the first persons who "kicked against the psychiatric ward door" and belongs to the first generation of consumer/survivor movement in the United States. Hearing the news of Judi's death from Hiroyuki Matsuda at Osaka Prefecture University, I recalled the deep emotion that I felt when I read On Our Own, which is still my bible.

I was in the dark tunnel, because I had quit my job and had left a self-help group. I had started the self-help group together with my friend, so I had been particularly attached to that group. In the group, through listening to peer's stories and talking my stories, I was empowered and had a feeling that I was experiencing profound and enriched life, the feeling which I had never had. But I stopped attending it because of some reasons. In such a situation, I encountered the Judi's book, On Our Own.

Reading On Our Own, I knew that the book points out the issue of "power". "That's it!" I said to myself. At that time, I had been agonizing about how we could develop equal relationships in a group, and I noticed that I had grown up in the culture of "power", which is just like the air I breathe, and it had been internalized into myself. I was thinking that such a culture is ubiquitous in our society. "Have I encountered the person who have the same idea! The same idea!" Excitedly I underlined sentences in the book. I resonated the idea that "symptoms" have meanings and they reflect and point out social realities like violence. I was convinced that self-help groups create the culture which is opposite to that of "power". I felt as if I saw the light in the darkness.

After that time, I became involved in activities at Bochi Bochi Club and met wonderful persons who followed Judi, like Daniel Fisher, who is a psychiatrist and a consumer/survivor, and Shery Mead, who established consumer-run crisis center. They are the persons with wonderful smiles. The light that Judi gave me is still shining on me.

02-01-2010 11:51 PM -- By: Judy Lavine,  From: Rhode Island  

Judi was and is such an amazing inspiration for all of humanity. I always loved how she cared "loudly," knitted while watching and listening like a hawk, and  swooped in when one's thinking was off track.

Judi, as always, where you have walk and left your footprints, know that the world is a better place for every step you took.

You and I used to say, "to Judi about Judy from Judy" and so from Judy: It was and is an honour to have known you. Blessings to you, on your new journey.

02-01-2010 11:13 PM -- By: Fran Scribner,  From: Rhode Island  

Thanks for being so inspiring.

01-31-2010 10:51 PM -- By: Lauren S,  From: Hospice Nurse  

   I've thought long and hard about what I wanted to say about Judi. She was so multuifaceted, yet so vulnerable in so many ways.  My time to know her was fairly brief,  now that I look back on it, yet somehow the legacy of her life and the fingerprint she left on this world of ours makes it seem we knew each other for a lot longer.

Judi was passionate about so many things and I began to believe that her passion and goals were what kept the inevitable at bay for so long. She had things to do, and despite that she was tired of 'all this' She still had things to do.

   I will miss Judi in many ways.  I look back at our relationship and I'm glad I stepped into Judi's life for a brief time It shall leave a lasting impression on me and how I look at my patients in the future.

    Rest Well Judi for this world and those who knew you are the better for it.


01-31-2010 2:29 PM -- By: Patricia Lefave,  From: Ontario, Canada  

Though I never met her and knew her only by reading her essays, reading about  her and from a few e-mails, especially  as she went through this last fight, I notice her missing and I will miss her presence here.

01-31-2010 3:50 AM -- By: Irit Shimrat,  From: Vancouver - first met Judi while living in Toronto  

I was lucky enough to have met Judi at several conferences, over the course of which we developed a warm and close relationship. She has always been my hero, and I will always miss her and be proud to have known her.

01-30-2010 10:25 PM -- By: Andy Bernstein,  From: New Jersey  

Thank you, Judi, for what you taught us all.... 

01-30-2010 2:36 PM -- By: Kathleen Hanson,  From: Lincoln Nebraska  

God bless you, Judi.  You were an inspiration to us all. 

01-30-2010 2:37 AM -- By: Christy and Brian Disher,  From: Orange County, CA  

Brian's and my experience with starting On Our Own of Montgomery County, MD in 1983, which just celebrated its 25th Anniversary, is a direct result of Judi's efforts in the 1970's.  Judi Chamberlin paved the way to empowerment and then wellness for countless numbers of people. Thank you, Judi.

01-29-2010 5:05 PM -- By: Denise Roy,  From: Northampton, MA  

I met Judi in 2001 when I began my work with the Massachusetts Office on Disabilies.  She was an amazingly powerful woman and advocate.  I will always remember her energy and her beautiful spirit!  Thank you Judi for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.

01-28-2010 6:15 PM -- By: Blanca Deleon,  From: Los Angeles, California  

Your hard work and dedication is lighting us now, thank you so much on behalf of the Latino/Latina Community. Blanca Deleon

01-27-2010 2:15 PM -- By: Nancy Thomas,  From: Oakland CA  

Judi was a strong voice for all survivors and was especially smart about including us in the cross disability movement. We will all miss her.

01-26-2010 4:32 PM -- By: Janice Towndrow,  From: Toronto, Canada  

God Bless You Judi.


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