Children’s mental health charity YoungMinds announced today that Barbara Herts will leave this month after three years as chief executive.
Interim deputy chief executive Sarah Brennan has been appointed as acting chief executive until a replacement is found.
Herts joined YoungMinds from the then Department for Education and Skills in 2005, where she had led on children’s participation policy.
During her time in charge, the charity successfully lobbied for the Mental Health Act 2007 to include provisions to ensure age-appropriate treatment for young people under 18. It also set up a children and young people’s board to feed views into the charity’s work.
Herts said she felt “extremely privileged” to have led YoungMinds through “an exciting period of change”, while chair Mike Shooter said she had “worked hard to secure a more influential role for the charity”.
However, her leadership has also coincided with financial problems and the departure of senior staff.
Last December, Herts wrote to supporters saying it needed to raise £100,000 before the end of the year because of an unexpected reduction in funding from a major donor. She said its policy work and magazine were then at risk.
Its financial predicament later improved when it was chosen by the retailer the John Lewis Partnership as its first charity of the year. It was also successful in a £1.2m lottery bid with fellow charity Rethink to fund a residential recovery programme for young people with mental illness.
But it lost key staff this year including policy and innovation manager Kathryn Pugh, development director Avis Johns and training and consultancy manager Lee Miller.
Community Care understands that the charity commissioned an internal review into the departure of senior staff, which reported recently.