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Dr Margaret O’ Rourke, Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist and researcher at INFANT, the Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research and School of Medicine, UCC, and Dr Maeve Hurley, founder of our Relationships in Practice programme and trainer, will co-present at the 18th World Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) next week.This major international conference focusing on early childhood mental health and wellbeing will bring together over 1400 delegates from across the globe, including world-renowned experts in the field of infant mental health.

It takes place at the Convention Centre in Dublin from 15-19 July. Entitled ‘Early Relationships Matter: Advancing Practice, Policy & Research’, is the first international gathering of its kind in Ireland focusing on all facets that support early childhood mental health and wellbeing.


Dr Maeve Hurley

Dr O’ Rourke and Dr Hurley’s presentation – “Adverse Childhood Experience: Promoting Awareness, Advancing Practice & Prevention” – will take place on Monday 17th July at 4:30pm.

They will share details of the award-winning work undertaken by our programme between 2018 – 2021 to:

  • Raise awareness of infant and childhood adversity
  • Highlight the importance of responsive relationships and their potential for buffering, prevention and protection
  • Explore with practitioners how this awareness could translate into action, advocacy and support

In their presentation, they will outline how the project provided 23 facilitated screenings of the award-winning documentary, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope to 625 frontline practitioners from health, education, youth, community development and social care across Ireland.

They will share the results of a subsequent audit and thematic analysis which revealed five core themes. These and other output from the work, including 50 evidence-based messages about ACEs, have been captured in an evidence-based,multifaceted resource handbook, ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences: 50 reasons to support relationships in practice’.

The conclusion highlights frontline practitioners’ roles in building hope and resilience in communities and their considerable potential to make a difference in children’s lives.

WAIMH information: