Mark Conway: Emerging Leader of the Year Award

Date: 12 December 2016

Mark Conway, a manager with Somerset Partnership’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Taunton, has won Emerging Leader of the Year across the whole of the South West.

The award, from South West Leadership Academy, is in recognition of the work Mark has been doing for the Schools Link project, working with children and young people, teachers and parents to get better mental health in schools.

Schools Link, a pilot for ten schools across Somerset, has been working since January this year to help schools understand the link between positive mental health and good outcomes for children and young people. Together, schools and dedicated mental health workers, led by Mark, support early identification of mental health needs and help ensure any referrals to specialist CAMHS services are timely and appropriate.

Mark is a qualified social worker and has been working in CAMHS for Somerset Partnership for four years.

In her nomination for the award, Mark’s manager, Sue Pearson, said:

“Mark has been highly effective in the way he has led and developed the Schools Link project. His energy, commitment and enthusiasm have inspired schools to really engage with mental health issues and make significant changes. In one school they worked with Mark to set up mental health peer champions.

“Mark has a real skill for getting people on board and taking them with him as he seeks to develop services to improve what is on offer for children and young people both in CAMHS and in schools.  Mark’s motivation is clearly a real desire to help young people recover, be that by the direct work he does with them himself or by supporting others to do this in the most effective way they can. This is what makes Mark such a good leader.”

Mark commented on his award and said:

“To have won this award for leading an exciting project which challenges stigma, fosters closer working relationships between agencies and promotes early intervention is a real privilege. Thank you to everybody involved!”

Somerset Partnership’s Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton, congratulated Mark on his award and said:

“I am absolutely delighted that Mark has been declared Emerging Leader for the South West. It is a prestigious award from the South West Leadership Academy and recognition of the excellent work he has been leading in Somerset’s Schools Link Project.

“We know that by promoting good mental health and intervening early, particularly in the crucial stages at school, we can prevent mental illness from developing and mitigate the impact when it does. And the mark of a good leader is someone who shares their vision and works to bring out the best in others. Through Schools Link, and the leadership Mark has demonstrated, he and his team are making a real difference to children and young people, not just for today, but also for their future."