The Teen’s Midwife addresses Cura’s 28th National Conference

05 Oct 2014

· Cura crisis pregnancy service received 1,745 client contacts in 2013

150 crisis pregnancy counsellors attended the 28th National Conference of CURA, the crisis pregnancy support service, which was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1977. The two-day conference took place in Malahide, Co Dublin.

Following-on from last year, the 2014 theme ‘The Holding Space: Part 2’ focused on the role of the crisis pregnancy counsellor and the challenges, responsibilities, boundaries and opportunities they face in their day to day work. The conference was addressed Bishop Éamonn Walsh, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin and President of Cura; Ms Helen Deely, Head of the Health Service Executive’s Crisis Pregnancy Programme; Ms Una O’Brien, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Teenage Pregnancy; and Dr Colm O’Connor, clinical psychologist and family therapist, who facilitated training workshops.

Speaking at the opening of the conference Ms Louise Graham, national co-ordinator of Cura, said, “Being a parent to a new baby can be a stressful and challenging time, especially for a young parent. We all have a responsibility to get a message out there that it’s good to talk and to ask for help. Feedback to Cura indicates that sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone outside of the immediate family. This makes sense and it places an onus on Cura – and on society – to raise awareness amongst young people in a way which is both accessible and relevant.”

Paying tribute to the crisis pregnancy counsellors of Cura, Bishop Walsh said, “Cura reaches out to those who have been given the potential of bringing another life into this world but in circumstances that they would sometimes not have wished for and at times amidst terrible trauma. Thank you for your Christian compassion and for your professionalism. Cura walks with people in a caring, loving, hope-giving way – and never judges. Today I wish to publicly acknowledge and congratulate your vital role.”

Guest speaker Ms Una O Brien, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Teenage Pregnancy with Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, and the subject of the recent two-part RTÉ documentary The Teen’s Midwife, addressed the crisis pregnancy counsellors on her experiences in communicating with young parents-to-be. Ms O’Brien highlighted to counsellors the supportive role which services can play in the lives of young parents, not only during the pregnancy but also after the birth of the baby.

Delegates were also addressed by Ms Helen Deely, Head of the HSE’a Crisis Pregnancy Programme. Ms Deely said, “The early weeks and months of adjusting to parenthood can be a very challenging time. A report funded by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme and published earlier this week found that mothers who experienced a crisis pregnancy find adjusting to parenthood particularly difficult. They were more likely to experience high levels of depression and stress by the time their child was three years old, compared to women who did not experience crisis pregnancy. The authors found clear indications that helping new mothers in managing stress and depression in the early stages of motherhood may have significant benefits to the mother, which in turn would have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of their child. I would like to commend and thank Cura for their work in this area.” The conference was also addressed Dr Colm O’Connor, clinical psychologist and family therapist.

The conference was hosted by counsellors from Cura Dublin, who provide services from centres in Dublin city, Blanchardstown and Tallaght. After 37 years based in South Anne Street, the Cura centre in Dublin city has recently moved to a new premises at 16 Suffolk Street. These new premises are located at the end of Grafton Street, and close to Trinity College. Drop-in clients are welcome as there is no need for an appointment during opening hours. The conference was attended by Cura representatives from across the country: Athlone, Cork, Dublin (city centre, Blanchardstown and Tallaght), Drogheda, Dundalk, Ennis, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Monaghan, Sligo, Thurles, Waterford, Wexford and Gorey.

Notes for Editors

· Photographs of the conference can be obtained by media from Jason Clarke on 00 353 87 252 0782.

· Cura is an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and is funded by the Crisis Pregnancy Programme of the Health Service Executive. Cura’s 180 active crisis pregnancy counsellors – in fourteen centres and numerous outreach facilities countrywide – offer support services and information to anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, past abortion or the challenges of being parent to a new baby. The aforementioned new support service for parents of a new baby has seen an increase in uptake, with delivery up 49% in 2013 on the previous year.

· Cura service provision in 2013 involved 1,745 client contacts; 953 counselling hours; 1,268 clients presented for crisis pregnancy counselling; 332 presented for post-abortion counselling, and 155 presented for support after the birth of a new baby. Cura Schools Awareness Programme involved 166 sessions delivered to 5,831 students.

· Services provided by Cura are FREE of charge and include:
o Crisis or Unplanned Pregnancy Support and Counselling
o Pregnancy Testing
o Counselling after an Abortion
o Support to Mothers and Fathers of a new Baby
o Cura Schools Awareness Programme
o Cura’s services extend beyond the person experiencing the pregnancy and are available to men and other family members
o Cura’s services are available at any-time during and after a pregnancy
o Counselling sessions give the client an opportunity to consider her pregnancy objectively and to discuss their options openly, with an experienced, professionally trained counsellor in a safe, non-judgmental environment
o Cura provides a relevant, consistent and effective service to meet the needs of clients
o Cura respects the client’s right to self-determination
o Cura services can be accessed through the National Helpline 1850 622626, at any of the Cura centres by telephone or by dropping in during opening hours (no appointment necessary except for counselling after an abortion service). If opening hours do not suit, an appointment can be arranged outside of opening hours

For media contact Charlotte Keery, Cura PRO on 087 648 6360 and email [email protected], and the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678