Meitheal -supporting you and your family so you can find the help you need

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. This is still true today. The name Meitheal comes from an old Irish word that describes how neighbours get together to give each other practical help and support.

Meitheal is a way of working with children and their families to identify and respond to their strengths and needs in a timely way.

Meithal brings together people and services who want to support a child or parent so that he or she can make the changes to their life that they want and need.

The kinds of services that might be involved in Meitheal are schools, youth services, family resource centres and medical services.

If you feel that your child has additional needs of is facing challenges that are difficult to overcome, Meitheal may be able to help you.

Examples of the challenges Meitheal could help with are:

  • A child having problems at school
  • A child feeling down
  • Additional needs
  • Family problems
  • Illness or bereavement
  • Difficult behaviour
  • Relationship with your child

You may already be getting support from different services but finding it difficult to deal with all of them at once. Meitheal brings everyone together. Your family will have a supportive person called a lead practitioner. This person may be chosen by you. Your lead practitioner will help you and your child to identify your child’s strengths and needs.

The next step is your lead practitioner will arrange a Meitheal support meeting where you and your child will help to put a plan in place. Everybody will support you to follow your plan to make the changes you and your child wants in their life.

It is very important that you, your family and your child understand every part of the plan.

You, your child and your family will decide how long you want this support for.

My son is more settled now. I feel that all my concerns as a parent were listened to and we were included in all decisions.

Everyone’s on the same wavelength – I’m not having to relay back … Everyone sits at a table and we’re all on the same page.

If you think a Meitheal could help your family then contact your local office on 074 9123783

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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