Mental Health Social Worker of the Year


John Leavy

ORGANISATION: Achieving for Children

AWARD(S): Mental Health Social Worker of the Year

John is an Adult Mental Health Social Worker based within the Family Youth Resilience Service in Achieving for Children, working alongside specialist teams providing family coaching and domestic violence interventions.

He has worked for Achieving for Children for 9 years and was an adult mental health social worker for about 20 years before joining Achieving for Children. Before that, John was an Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AMHP) for 15 years, developing skills and understanding of how mental health difficulties can impact on an individual, their families and the wider community.

His interest in the profession began when he was a volunteer with the Terrance Higgins Trust, recruiting other volunteers to advocate for and support people with HIV and AIDS.

John joined Achieving for Children to pursue a preventative approach to mental health care, taking account of a person’s lived experience and the systems around them.

He acts as an expert consultant across Kingston and Richmond’s Children’s Social Care on adult mental health, providing support and insight on parental needs and barriers to engagement.

Hear from John in his own words below.




John uses excellent relationship-building and problem-solving skills to build trust and reach positive outcomes in some really complex and challenging cases. Such important and impressive work!

Vicci Livingstone Thompson, CEO, Inclusion Gloucestershire

John is amazing...he’s what I call my ‘rock’, he makes such a difference to our families.

A Young People Support Worker who works with John

John's knowledge, skills and genuine care for this job is having such positive outcomes for the team he works with, with service users and for the wider social work field.

Ella Waughman, Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year 2019

The remarkable aspect of John’s work is that, even as the only Adult Mental Health practitioner across Children’s Social Care, he is able to cover all queries that come his way, championing insight and understanding into Mental Health and ensuring families presenting with complex needs are directed to appropriate services. John empowers social workers to think differently about risk and families presenting needs in a way that social workers can adapt their practice to positively impact families.

Roberta Evans, Associate Director for Early Help, Achieving for Children


Silver Award

Tulane Chiarletti, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Rebecca Owen, Somerset County Council

Daniel Wilding, Livewell Southwest

Kevin Waggott, Northumberland County Council

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