Glasgow social worker wins mental health officer award

Renfrewshire social worker Liz Snodgrass has become the first winner of the Scottish Association of Social Work’s Wilma Macdonald Mental Health Officer (MHO) of the Year Award for her work supporting “highly distressed and often risky people” in the community.
The award, named in memory of Wilma Macdonald, a highly respected MHO from the East End of Glasgow, was a reflection of the fact Liz “regularly goes the ‘extra mile’ to make sure people are treated with respect and dignity and ensures their rights are respected and upheld”.

MHOs gathered at SASW’s MHO Annual Study Forum 2012 heard how Liz shares her skills, knowledge and expertise through the ongoing training of MHOs in the West of Scotland. Described by the judges “as an
excellent team player” she used her acceptance speech to thank her colleagues and administrators for their support in helping her provide the excellent quality of services for which she was receiving the award.

One cited example of her work focused on an elderly man on a Guardianship Order whose savings from benefits had accumulated whilst in hospital. The judges set out how she “navigated a complex system and sought the help of the Office for the Public Guardian, the Care Inspectorate and the Mental Welfare Commission, tenaciously making sure that the care home repaid monies that they had erroneously taken for fees”.

In another example, Liz worked with a young man with a long history of hospital admissions for schizophrenia. “Over three years she helped him move through a ‘journey’ from statutory detentions to living in the community on a Community Treatment Order which supports him live safely in the community with the support of his family.”

The title of the award is a tribute to the work of Wilma Macdonald, who qualified as an MHO in 1992 and went on to spend all of her career serving the people of Glasgow’s East End. In particular, her work among older people with mental health issues led to her becoming a much respected MHO in the area.

Wilma died on 7 May 2010 and SASW decided to mark her life and her achievements by creating the Wilma Macdonald MHO of the Year Award.