Last Saturday, I said my last goodbyes to a man who was a close friend and colleague for 9 years. A fellow nurse at Northgate Clinic, a therapeutic community for young people aged 16-21.
Sadly the clinic closed down not long after Brian Kesse Adu retired. Why sadly? Because many young people I knew there have been helped to the point where they did not become long term users of the mental health system. Indeed, one is now a leading barrister, working with among other things the legal side of young people who like her were abused. I strongly believe that the way of working we had there is cost effective in the long term and the closing down of Northgate and the other Therapeutic Communities run by the NHS was a retrograde and ultimately very stupid step.
There were a lot of people came to say goodbye to Brian, especially when he died in his native Ghana! I was also struck by something I knew intellectually but had not seen before. While here in UK, people are more often than not encouraged to talk about the person who has left them in order to deal with their grief, those from Ghana and much of Africa are more likely to dance their grief away.
And this is also relevant to my massage and aromatherapy practice because it was while working at Northgate, before I came to Cambridge that I did my massage and aromatherapy training, the clinic paying 1/3 of the cost. Brian, I learned so much from you. Your wisdom and ability to see things in the long term and never flap no matter what the pressures from the young people or indeed the staff were. Above all I remember you kindness and commitment to both your fellow staff and the young people of the clinic.