Dear colleagues and friends,
The year 2021 is nearing its end and maybe it is a good time to reflect back on what happened during the year, and also to look at the future. For us working with young children and families the year meant continuing coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccinations against the virus helped ease restrictions in countries where mass vaccinations were possible, but the situation globally is not satisfactory. Our university allowed us teachers to lecture in person this autumn for the first time in 1½ years. I lectured to the first-year medical students about early development of the brain and mind in infancy, and one of the things the students asked was whether infants’ social interaction development is affected when they mostly see adult faces covered with masks. It was nice to be able to tell them that WAIMH had addressed this issue in Perspectives and encouraged all parents to engage in face-to-face interaction with their young children without masks at home and outdoors. Since the appearance of the new omicron variant many countries have now re-introduced restrictions on where and how people can see each other. With the continuing pandemic and increased worry concerning climate change, it looks like we will need to keep on encouraging parents even during the coming year. Keeping up hope and relieving parents’ anxiety when and wherever we can is a worthy task for us all.
Despite all calamities and difficulties many things in WAIMH are progressing well. The webinar series LAYING THE PATH FOR LIFELONG WELLNESS — INFANT AND EARLY MENTAL HEALTH LECTURE SERIES in collaboration with Sick Kids Toronto, WAIMH and Tampere University with its 15 webinars is starting soon. The speakers include some of the pioneers of and experts in infant and early mental health practices, such as Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Dr. Alicia Lieberman, Dr. Charles Zeanah, Dr. Arietta Slade, Dr. Hiram Fitzgerald, Dr. Joy Osofsky, Dr. Diane Phillip and Dr. Sheri Madigan and many more. We are all really excited about the opportunity the webinar series provides us to reach people all over the world, and naturally WAIMH members will get a discount. We will be posting more information soon on our WAIMH website and our social media channels.
The preparations for the 18th WAIMH World Congress 15–19th July, 2023 in Dublin, Ireland have also started and are progressing at full speed. The Office staff is working together with the Local Organizing Committee Chairs Catherine Maguire and Audrey Lonergan and the professional congress organizer InConference concerning the practicalities and management of the World Congress. At the same time the Program Committee with Dr Elisabeth Hoehn is preparing the scientific content of the Congress. We do hope that we will be able to have a full in-person congress in Dublin, but at the same time we are also preparing an online part of the Congress. Naturally we will be able to change the Congress to a full online event if needs be. We have learned a lot in these past few years!
As the holiday season is nearing, I do hope you will all find at least some time for relaxing and being with your near and dear ones. For meeting relatives, friends and colleagues from afar I can recommend using online connections. I am planning to “have friends over” for a zoom chat during the holidays and, even if it is not exactly the same as being together in person, it helps to keep in touch.
With warm wishes to you all,
For more information on the lecture series, please visit: https://imhpromotion.ca/Learning-Centre/Expert-Lectures/Lecture-Series-2022
For more information on the WAIMH 18th World Congress, please visit: https://www.waimh2023.org/