Who asked Jude anyway?
Paige "Jude" Gilmar
Founder and CEO
of Asking Jude
"To many, Asking Jude is a not-for-profit mental health initiative. To some, Asking Jude is just a dream. To us, it is a home for our family."
What is Asking Jude?
Beyond its therapeutic value, Asking Jude is an educational and clinical experience for young psychology students. Since many university students are often barred from counseling because they do not have the necessary qualifications, Asking Jude uses the concept of “peer support” to allow deserving individuals the opportunity to help others and refine their skills in communication and counseling. Founded in 2015, Asking Jude’s internship program fits neatly around students’ busy university schedules through its flexibility and accessibility. Many of Asking Jude’s interns have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs in clinical psychology, such as Columbia University and University of California, Berkeley.
Asking Jude is an online support service founded and headed by Paige “Jude” Gilmar, a long-time philanthropist and rising journalist. Born from the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude,” Asking Jude humbly began as a personal Tumblr blog for Paige to express the downward spiral of adolescence compounded by family deaths and mental health crises. A fishbowl for the Internet’s eyes, other anonymous users related to her and often talked about their own problems. She quickly found that engaging with others and providing them with support made her feel better unlike any other medication. Her well researched, empathetic replies transformed a girl’s personal blog into an advice column for everyone.
Looking beyond its meager beginning in 2013, Asking Jude has grown exponentially from a few hundred to 30,000 active users. Paige soon realized that her one-man-show could not go on, and she recruited a team of psychology undergraduates and graduates to help her on her mission to provide remote health services to everyone without asking for a dime. Though it may never fully replace professional therapeutic services, Asking Jude is its own therapy for those who cannot afford or are afraid of committing to mental health care. Asking Jude has even caught the media’s eye as well, featuring in Study Breaks Magazine.
“It’s incredibly hypocritical--some mental health workers, many of them often insensitive and prejudiced towards the mentally ill, claim to fight for the lives of the most vulnerable. Little do the they tell you that they slap on big, pretty price-tags that no one can afford and most insurance companies don’t cover. They seem to be in it to make money off of the people they help, not help people.
“Asking Jude shows that you do not need a big, fancy PhD to help those in need. Though education is imperative for helping others, we forget what is most important is empathy and open-mindedness. Asking Jude is fighting for the most vulnerable, those in greatest need of support. Asking Jude is founded by me, sometimes Paige, sometimes Jude-- someone who has lived through the hell of mental illness rather than only studying it in a textbook. To me, that makes all the difference.”
A candid of Paige (left) and her barbershop-singing grandfather (right), who dealt with untreated Asperger's all his life.
A pensive Paige (right) photographed with her loving grandmother (left), who later suffered from the devastating effects of Alzheimer's.