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Mental Health Officer from Edinburgh wins MHO Practice Award 2022

Meredith Ahearn, a Mental Health Officer who is based at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, has been awarded the Mental Health Practice Award 2022.

Ms Ahearn received the accolade from the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP, during the annual Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW) Mental Health Officer (MHO) Conference.

The Practice Award recognises the exceptional work and achievements of an individual, team, initiative or project in mental health practice. Nominations were received from across the profession, with the judging panel naming Ms Ahearn as the eventual winner whilst also recognising the outstanding contributions of her fellow finalists, Julie Campbell from Glasgow Council and Zoe Sharpe from North Ayrshire Council.

Ms Ahearn, who qualified as an MHO in 2018 and is now a Practice Assessor for an MHO trainee herself, was commended for developing strong and meaningful relationships with all those she works with, always displaying a warm, caring and compassionate approach in her determination to achieve a positive outcome.

Following the presentation, Ms Ahearn commented:

“I really admire the work all MHOs and social workers have put into supporting our communities during the pandemic.

“It’s been a multidisciplinary team effort and I know I never would have made it through the past two years without my colleagues in my Edinburgh team. I’m thrilled to receive the award but it’s an achievement that is shared amongst the team.

SASW National Director, Alison Bavidge, added:

“Mental Health Officers across Scotland go to incredible lengths to help those in need of support. The award is therefore an opportunity to express our gratitude to MHOs and shine a light on the important work they do in our communities.

“The scope of this year’s award was broadened to include examples of extraordinary work in all aspects of mental health practice. Our three finalists should therefore be extremely proud to have been put forward by their colleagues. The judging panel were impressed by all the nominations and narrowing it down to one winner was not an easy task.

“It is essential that we continue to celebrate the invaluable contributions and dedication of MHOs whenever the opportunity arises. I would therefore urge anyone to express their thanks to an MHO by making a nomination next year.”