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1001 Critical Days, So What?

23rd June 2016

Vicky Gilroy, Senior Lecturer (Specialist Community Public Health Nursing) at Northumbria University and Fellow of the iHV, reflects on an event they ran in support of Infant Mental Health Awareness week and 1001 critical days.


This joint event was held on 7 June at Northumbria University in partnership with Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle City Council.

The key driver for the event was the Infant Mental Health Week and was aimed at promoting the importance of infant mental health as everyone’s responsibility.

Clair Rees, PIP UK Executive Director, addressing the IMH event at Northumbria University

Clair Rees, PIP UK Executive Director, addressing the IMH event at Northumbria University

As Fellows of the Institute of Health Visiting, Kate McBride and I were able to work in partnership to secure the venue of the University free of charge – this facilitated the event being free to all those who attended.   The event attracted over 160 delegates from a range of organisations and professional groups including early years providers, education, health, voluntary organisations and commissioning.

The programme presented a range of sessions aimed at developing the delegates’ knowledge and practical skills to work effectively with families. These included Solihull Approach, Video Interactive Guidance, Observation of Infants, effects of trauma on infants’ brains and bridging the gap.

Key note speakers included Dilys Daws, Child Psychotherpist and author of “Finding your way with your baby”, and Clair Rees, PIP UK Executive Director, who covered the Infant Mental Health Week and 1001 critical days .

Clair Rees, PIP UK Executive Director, addressing the IMH event at Northumbria University

Clair Rees, PIP UK Executive Director, addressing the IMH event at Northumbria University

The day closed with an opportunity for networking and presentation of research from the University to support infant mental health.

The day was buzzing with energy and the networking that took place was amazing. The importance of this crucial time and its impact on the children of the future were made loud and clear as a theme throughout the day.

Dilys Daws and Clair Rees raised the need for us to provide a place of hope for our communities and that, working with and for families, children and young people, together we can make a real difference.

Delegates have given excellent feedback as demonstrated below:

“The most over-riding theme has been a joint approach is needed starting with antenatal support.”

“Utilising contacts and listening and understanding interpersonal relationships.”

“Listen more use solution-focused approach.”

“The impact on infant mental health and need to consider parents’ own childhood and upbringing.”

“That parents’ dreams and aspirations for the child/infant has a huge impact on their relationship with their children.”

Vicky Gilroy, FiHV