Mental Health Social Worker of the Year


Helen Pye

ORGANISATION: South West Yorkshire and NHS Partnership Foundation Trust

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


Helen is a practitioner who has proved time and again the true value of social work and the positive difference it can make to the lives of children and young people.


She started her social work career in child protection before joining the Focus team, which provides forensic child and adolescent mental health services, in 2012. Here she has been instrumental in service improvements while remaining committed to frontline practice.


Helen’s achievements include introducing new, more specialist risk assessments which give young people much faster access to the support they need. She also championed changes to the team’s referral pathway, which have strengthened its relationship with social care and prevented young people from ‘falling through the net’.


The judges commended Helen’s ability to transform services at a strategic level, while still finding the time to manage a challenging caseload, support families and young people to overcome difficulties and maintain her social work identity.


As her colleagues put it, Helen’s contribution and impact on the Focus team has been both “unique and crucial”, and what’s even more impressive is the fact that she’s achieved this as the lone social worker in an all-health team, working in one of the most complex areas – forensic mental health.


I trust Helen and she made it easy for me to talk about things that are difficult. I think the work we are doing is helping me.

Service user

I am privileged to be Helen’s line manager and envisage a worthwhile, successful career ahead of her, which will be a benefit to services of the future.

Paula Phillips, Nurse Consultant/Service Manager, Forensic CAMHS

We don’t hear enough about individual practitioners who are not only highly regarded for skills, ethics, and maintaining their professional identity but also able to significantly change how a service works to the benefit and appreciation of colleagues. People who can do that deserve recognition.

Dr Ruth Allen, Director of Social Work, South West London & St Georges' Mental Health NHS Trust

Helen’s entry showed evidence of a worker who not only worked effectively at frontline level with a very complex group of service users, but also strategically transformed the service and changed her colleagues’ practice as well as their views.”

Faye Wilson, Outstanding Contribution Award Winner 2014


Claire Hunter, Kent County Council

Elizabeth Terry, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust


Shabnam Sherif, Birmingham City Council

Skip to content