Launch of the Infant Mental Health Evaluation carried by Dr. Evelyn Gordon and her DCU Team
“Ballymun’s Future Begins with its Babies”
Youngballymun are delighted to be celebrating with the community as they launch the findings of their Infant Mental Health (IMH) evaluation on Thursday October 27th 2022.
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk reflects on the findings of Youngballymun’s Infant Mental Health (IMH) evaluation conducted by Dr Evelyn Gordon and her team in DCU. Zeedyk will give a keynote address which supports the research around the importance of emotional connection for human health and happiness; ‘What does the science tell us and how can we use it to think more deeply about fostering connection and compassion across Ballymun?’
The overall aim of this evaluation was to establish the relevance and benefits of the Youngballymun Infant Mental Health (IMH) activities, primarily the programmes provided to families that are specifically designed to enhance the relationship between an infant and his/her caregiver. The stakeholders emphasised the logic and importance of investing in these services early to reduce the need for longer term inputs: “… it makes sense, it is cheaper in the long run to put the necessary supports in.”
Many of the parents said they would repeat the programmes or avail of other programmes in the future: “I would do these courses again and again”; “I would continue doing it forever. I just thought it was brilliant.” The courses … ‘met their needs at the time and surpassed their expectations in terms of gains and quality. These parents identified many benefits for themselves and their families from attending the IMH programmes in terms of new insights, understanding and skills. They would highly recommend these programmes to other parents whether or not they were having parenting related problems’.
“During my involvement with the evaluation of the Infant Mental Health programmes at Youngballymun, it became very clear to me that people are benefiting hugely from the range of programmes on offer. Benefits are apparent for children (e.g. behavioural change and emotional regulation), parents (e.g. increased parenting confidence, knowledge), and families (e.g. improved relationships).” Dr Evelyn Gordon, DCU.
Read the full Infant Mental Health Evaluation Report here
What’s the Story: youngballymun’s Performance Story Report
Throughout 2015, youngballymun compiled data and evidence of its programme of work in an innovative and exciting evaluation approach.
Extensive research data of five years of implementation in the local community was gathered and documented along with personal testimonials from families, health workers, preschool staff, teachers and others to provide a comprehensive account of the strategy.
A report, using the contribution analysis methodology, was developed and submitted to a jury of independent experts.
Our Performance Story Report is available here.
The independent international jury, with expertise in implementation, evaluation and community work, were invited to interrogate the evidence over the course of a two-day public event in which included a range of witnesses, including practitioners and managers involved in the initiative and researchers, to discuss their perspectives on the experience of strategy and the wider context. The summary of the expert jury’s findings is available here.
A Research Advisory Group of leading academics and researchers supported the evaluation process and provided observations on interpreting the expert jury’s findings in an Irish context. This commentary is available here.