Welcome to the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH)

The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) is a non-profit organization with an interdisciplinary membership (www.waimh.org). Currently, there are 63 Infant Mental Health Affiliate organizations from around the world; the Irish Association for Infant Mental Health is one of these affiliates.

WAIMH’s central mission is the promotion of the mental health and wellbeing of infants and toddlers throughout the world, taking into account cultural, regional and environmental variations and to generate and make accessible the latest cutting-edge scientific knowledge. There are many facets to the work which WAIMH progress on behalf of infants and toddlers and their families.

A central goal of WAIMH is to disseminate scientific research and knowledge and it does this through its two excellent professional publications.

The first is Perspectives in Infant Mental Health, which is a free to access publication and provides a wonderful way to share the latest research and practice. The Editor of Perspectives is Maree Foley and she welcomes members to share research and practice of interest. Maree also provides a supportive experience to authors when they are preparing their work for submission.

The other excellent publication is the Infant Mental Health Journal, which is the official journal of the World Association for Infant Mental Health; Holly Brophy-Herb is the Editor. The Infant Mental Health Journal (IMHJ) was created by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH) and is copyrighted by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. It is the official peer-reviewed journal publication of WAIMH and, by special agreement with MI-AIMH, members of WAIMH can subscribe to the IMHJ and receive a reduced WAIMH member subscription rate with access to the Wiley database of the electronic journal. The journal can be accessed here: Infant Mental Health Journal – Wiley Online Library. This Journal is published 6 times a year, it publishes a wide range of peer-reviewed research articles, clinical studies, and reviews, programme descriptions and evaluations, reviews on the latest books and much more. It is an exceptional cutting-edge journal.

WAIMH has also prepared very important statements and position papers. They include:

  1. The WAIMH Position Paper on the Rights of Infants May_13_2016_1-2_Perspectives_IMH_corr.pdf (waimh.org);
  2. A further key publication on the World Wide Burden of Infant Mental and Emotional Disorders: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/imhj.21674/full; and
  3. The WAIMH Position paper on Infant’s Rights in war times. Here is the open-source link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/imhj.21813

These are important papers, and I would encourage you to read them. They are also comprehensive resources and are available at a time when the voice of the baby is still so hard to hear. These papers are also supportive when we need the most up-to-date research and literature resources at our disposal to make representation on behalf of this pivotal period of infant and early childhood development, whether is at practice, research, or policy levels.

WAIMH Board’s official headquarters and Executive Office are based at Tampere University, in Tampere, Finland. The Executive Director of the WAIMH Organisation is Kaija Puura and with her team, Kaija provides very skillful leadership and overall administration of the WAIMH Organization.

The WAIMH Board has worldwide representations – five continents are represented, Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America. Eight members make up the full representation of the WAIMH Board Executive Committee. Campbell Paul from Victoria, Australia is the current WAIMH President and Astrid Berg, from Cape Town, South Africa, is President-Elect.

Other members include the Affiliate Council representatives, the Chair of the Affiliate Council, Anna Huber from Canberra, Australia and Jane Barlow, based in Oxford, is the Affiliate Council Representative. Both Anna and Jane support the development of all the Affiliates around the world. The At-Large members are Hisako Watanabe from Yokohama, Japan and Catherine Maguire from Cork, Ireland, both elected by the At Large general WAIMH membership. Chaya Kulkarni, from Toronto, Canada is the Presidents At Large member. This member was chosen by the current President and the WAIMH Past President who is Kai von Klitzing, Kai is from Leipzig, Germany.

We would like to encourage you or your organization to consider becoming a member, if you are not already one. The membership fees are very reasonable; 75 (USD) dollars for professional membership, and 45 (USD) dollars for student membership.  For an additional 40 (USD) dollars you can order the excellent online IMH Journal.

Why should you become a WAIMH member? Here are some of the main benefits:

  • To promote principles of infant and child health, development and mental health.
  • To become part of a global learning community and professional network that speaks for infants, young children and families around the world.
  • To have access to resources that promotes infant mental health.
  • To learn from world experts about the health, mental health and optimal development of infants, toddlers and their families across cultures and around the world.
  • To expand your professional, social network.
  • To exchange information about infants and infant-family programs, contribute to the protection of health and well-being in infancy, and early childhood and parenthood on a global level.
  • To avail of opportunities to keep pace with new findings and innovations in scientific, clinical, and educational research and programs involving infants and their caregivers.

One of the chief ways WAIMH pursues its role is through the hosting of a biennial Congresses throughout the world. The next WAIMH World Congress will be held in Ireland. I-AIMH will be the host Affiliate and it will be held in Dublin. The Congress is a 5-day event, taking place from 15th – 19th July 2023, it will be held at the Convention Centre Dublin. Another reason to be a WAIMH Member; there are very good reduced rates for Congress registration.

Hosting a World Congress is a unique event; anyone that has ever had the opportunity to attend this international event will tell you the WAIMH Congress is a very sociable event. Our WAIMH international colleagues are among the warmest, most generous, and engaging people you will ever likely meet at an international congress.

The Congress will bring together the most progressive research and world-class practice in infant and early childhood. Preparations have indeed commenced; it will be a hybrid event. We hope the Covid pandemic will have settled to allow us to have the maximum face-to-face interaction. However, having access to a Hybrid online event is also important too for the many practitioners who may not be able to attend.

There have been significant learning’s from hosting the WAIMH Brisbane and managing a Congress during a pandemic. Their Local Organising Committee and WAIMH did an exceptional job to host the Congress this year during the pandemic.

We will keep you updated as plans unfold. For now, it is an important date for your diary and an opportunity to begin planning about what aspect of your research or practice you might like to present or simply to make plans to attend this world-class event.

Furthermore, WAIMH is creating professional training opportunities through, for example, the 15-part webinar series in collaboration with Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP), Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, through Chaya Kulkarni and Kaija Puura of the WAIMH Office in Finland (https://imhpromotion.ca/Learning-Centre/Expert-Lectures/Lecture-Series-2022)

Please watch the webpage at www.waimh.org for ongoing information about WAIMH.