Meet the team
The team at YoungMinds is uniquely informed about the mental health and well-being service and support needs of young people.
To translate this insight into evidence-led practice, we draw on a wide range of expertise from the field of children and young people's mental health.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive
Sarah Brennan became chief executive of YoungMinds on 12 May 2008. She had acted as its interim chief executive since October 2007.
Sarah has over 25 years experience as a champion of young people’s causes, starting out in youth and community work, teaching and youth counselling. She gained an MSc in Voluntary Sector Organisation at LSE in 1990. From 1994 to 2001, she became director of services at the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, moving to Motiv8, a charity creating life chances for young people, as Chief Executive.
Lucie Russell Director of Campaigns and media
Lucie has worked at the cutting edge of the social justice sector for 20 years. She started out as a youth worker on some of the most deprived estates in south London. She then qualified as a social worker, specialising in work with adolescents in a therapeutic community setting. She has also worked as a family therapist and a child and family assessment worker.
In 1991 she started The Big Issue magazine with its founder, John Bird and was a driving force in developing it from a five-person team in a west London basement to an international publishing success story with a UK readership of one million.
In 1995 she started The Big Issue’s charity, The Big Issue Foundation, which provides support services to homeless people including housing, jobs, education and training and referral to specialist health services.
In 2002 she created SmartJustice, a national campaign based at the Prison Reform Trust which promoted community solutions to crime. Activities included extensive media work in conjunction with a network of ex offenders, public events, public opinion surveys, liaison with government and policy makers and three targeted campaigns on vulnerable women and the criminal justice system, young people and crime and the links between drugs, alcohol, mental health and crime.
Lucie is currently Director of Campaigns and Media at YoungMinds, Her work includes promoting the organisation through the media and other networks, responsibility for all online communications., leading on the development of a new YoungMinds website on mental health medication for young people and running our new youth led online campaign
Christopher Walker, director of fundraising
Christopher Walker has worked as a fundraiser for children and young people’s charities in the United Kingdom and United States since 1997, including for Depaul UK, Centrepoint and Prevent Child Abuse America. Christopher served as a Trustee of YoungMinds for two years before joining as staff in 2011. His novel Now You Know was published in 2012 by Acorn Independent Press.
Lysanne Wilson, Director of Operations
Lysanne qualified as a physiotherapist, specialising in paediatrics, having started her career as a linguist and worked as an English teacher with VSO in Kenya. She then moved into health management to be able to better influence the way services were designed and delivered to meet the real needs of patients, working in both the developing world and London. Before joining Young Minds, Lysanne managed children’s health services in South London for over ten years, having worked on various health related projects in Uganda for three years.
Lysanne is responsible for leading and managing the teams who deliver Young Minds services to clients, including Parentline, Training and Consultancy and Young People’s Engagement and Participation. She is the safeguarding lead for the organisation.
Daphne Joseph, Parents’ Helpline Manager
Daphne Joseph has worked for YoungMinds since March 2001. She began as a helpline adviser, was promoted to senior helpline adviser in 2003, and has managed the helpline since 2006.
Daphne had a 14 year career in international banking, before returning to education and gaining a BA Hons in Psychosocial Studies with Professional Studies from the University of London, and a Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy. She has supported children and families in a variety of local frontline services, in paid and voluntary roles.
Daphne is regularly asked to comment on media stories about children and families, and has appeared on GMTV and the Paul O'Grady Show. In her private life, she is a mother and has been foster mother, and loves everything about families.
Laurie olivA, youth engagement manager
Laurie joined YoungMinds as Youth Engagement Manager in 2013 and oversees YoungMinds’ participation work, ensuring that children and young people’s voices and experiences are at the heart of national and local decision-making about children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing and that they are able to influence the design and delivery of mental health services.
Laurie came to YoungMinds from the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition. Prior to moving into mental health, Laurie led the development of the national youth engagement programme at Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity- working with thousands of young people across England through campaigning and leadership programmes. In other roles in participation Laurie has worked in social housing and with refuges and asylum seekers; young offenders and other disadvantaged groups. Outside of her work at YoungMinds Laurie is involved in campaigning and volunteering activities related to social justice and equality issues.
Cryss Mennaceur, HR manager
Cryss Mennaceur joined YoungMinds as HR and Office Manager in June 2013.
Cryss has been an HR professional for 18 years. Much of this was spent as a learning and organisational development specialist in both the public and voluntary sectors. More recently Cryss has worked in a broader range of HR roles in the voluntary sector in young people and family orientated charities. Cryss is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. In her last role at Solace Women’s Aid she also had responsibility for ICT and Facilities, volunteers and service user involvement.
Prior to her HR career, Cryss worked on a range of Social and Transport research projects.
Matthew Daniel, Training and Consultancy Manager
Matthew was appointed as the training and consultancy manager at YoungMinds in September 2013 and has previously worked for charity leading the participation and engagement training team for the VIK project. He has worked extensively with children, young people and families as a Citizenship Teacher, Connexions Personal Advisor and Youth Worker and he is passionate about working with young people, professionals services to give them the skills they need to facilitate positive change.
Richard Moore, Project Manager, BOND
Richard managed mental health services in the NHS for 10 years before moving into independent consultancy. He has been closely involved in the development of child and adolescent mental health services at a national level through work with the National CAMHS Support Service and has supported NHS and local authorities in their development and delivery of CAMHS. Richard brings strong project management skills to the BOND programme, delivering increased capacity in the voluntary and community sector.
Chris Leaman, Media and Public Affairs Officer
Chris is YoungMinds Media and Public Affairs Officer and joined in September 2011 from the world of politics. Chris had previously worked for a Member of Parliament as their Press and Campaigns Officer and then became responsible for running political campaigns across London. Elected as a local councillor in 2006, he has undertaken several roles in local government including Chair of Health Scrutiny Committee. At YoungMinds, Chris is responsible for promoting YoungMinds key messages and policy aspirations through the media and to all levels of government.