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What Works Summit: Youth Mental Health - Speakers

Introducing four of our Speakers for our upcoming What Works Summit on Youth Mental Health on 14 May 2019

(L-R: Koulla Yiasouma, Lesley Edgar, Julie Healy & Mairead Ewart)

Koulla Yiasouma

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

Koulla Yiasouma took up appointment as NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) in March 2015.

She trained as a social worker and previously worked in probation, NI Women’s Aid and prior to her appointment was the Director of Include Youth for almost 17 years.  She has also been involved in the boards of a number of voluntary and community based organisation as well as non-departmental public bodies. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of all children, especially those with the most challenging behaviours, and she represented these issues on these bodies.

As a Human Rights institution, the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People is appointed by the First and Deputy First Ministers and tasked to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people across Northern Ireland.  This includes advising public authorities, and holding them to account in a variety of ways, on their delivery of children’s rights.  Koulla set key strategic priorities for her term in Office.  These include addressing educational inequalities, tackling child poverty, improving emotional and mental well-being and addressing the on-going legacy of the conflict on children and young people. 

Koulla is of Greek Cypriot origin and is married with two daughters.  She was born in London and is therefore an avid Arsenal supporter.

Lesley Edgar

National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE)

Lesley has been a member of the NICE Field Team since 2012. Her role is to be the local face of NICE and in so doing encourage, facilitate and promote the uptake of NICE guidance, advice and standards by all health, public health and social care organisations and professionals in Northern Ireland. She graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1993 with a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacy and still practices as a community pharmacist today. Apart from her pharmacy qualifications, she is a diplomate member of the Faculty of Public Health and in 2012 she obtained a Master in Public Administration qualification from the University of Ulster. She has also been a member of the Q community since October 2016.

Julie Healy 

Barnardos NI

Julie Healy is Head of Programmes for Barnardo’s NI and oversees a range of evidence based programmes delivered (primarily in schools) in various parts of the UK. Julie is a graduate of Queens University, Belfast and University College, Dublin and has a background in community work and research. She has worked for Barnardo’s since 2002 in a range of roles including policy, influencing, research and management. Julie is passionate about utilising evidence to improve outcomes for children and families through prevention and early intervention.

Mairead Ewart 

Barnardos NI

Mairead Ewart has worked in the Education sector for over 10 years, as a teacher, a coach and a trainer.  Mairead was closely involved in adapting the PATHS® Programme for Schools to ensure a good fit with UK classrooms and was a PATHS Coach during the successful RCT of the programme in NI. Since joining Barnardo’s NI Mairead has led on the widespread implementation of PATHS® and is the Programme Manager for the PATHS® across the UK.  Mairead has also received accreditation with PATHS® Education Worldwide as a Master Trainer and coordinates and leads Trainings across the UK for Barnardo’s.


Registration is still open for this event you can click here to register