Infant Mental Health Awareness Week
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 11-17th June 2018
This year’s focus is ‘The Importance of Attachment’.
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 ( #IMHAW18) is a global initiative from 11th – 17th of June that invites Government, industry and consumers to consider the distinct needs of babies and toddlers and to invest in the services that support parents and carers in the early years.
The inaugral Infant Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK was in 2016 when the charity Parent Infant Partnership (PIP) UK set out to raise a greater understanding for policy makers, professionals and parents about why giving every baby the best possible start in life matters to the life chances of children and families.
The World Association of Infant Mental Health Position Paper on the Rights of Infants includes the ‘Basic Principles of Infant Rights’ (Birth to three years of age) and highlights; “An all-too-common view is that the baby is “too small to really understand or to remember” and thus the baby’s perspective is often not appreciated by health professionals and even by parents. Infants have unique nonverbal ways of expressing themselves and their capacities to feel, to form close and secure relationships, and to explore the environment and learn – all of which require appropriate nurturing since they are fundamental for building a lifetime of mental and physical health”
Improving the social and emotional welfare of babies and toddlers is vital for developing their capacity to experience and regulate emotions, form close and secure relationships and grow good mental health in childhood and throughout life.
Most of us know that there is a critical window of development that takes place in the first 1000 days where 80% of a child’s brain is developed. Relationships are crucial to babies during this period and are the building blocks for good mental health in childhood and throughout life.
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2017
Tweddle’s first Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 event was a business breakfast. ‘Babies, Business and The Bottom Line’ explored the links between investment in the very early years and the skills needed for school, the workforce, relationships, sport and the community.
Western Bulldogs President Mr Peter Gordon and US Psychiatrist Dr Bruce Perry spoke about resilience, about the importance of early relationships and on striving to reach goals. Dr Perry reflected on the importance of empathy and how western society is experiencing material wealth yet a poverty of social and emotional opportunity.
We are grateful to have The Minister for Health, The Hon. Jill Hennessy MP and Professor Ravi Savarirayan, clinical geneticist and Group Leader of Skeletal Biology and Disease at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in attendance.
Twedde’s Seminar on attachment, trauma and resilience ‘Babies’ Brains Matter’ featured a number of inspirational speakers including Tweddle’s Manager High Risk Programs, Louise Gawler, Paediatric Occupational Therapist Kristen Pringle and Dr Matthew Roberts, a Psychiatrist specialising in the area of infant mental health.
The seminar explored the impacts of traumatic stress on a baby’s developing brain and DNA, the importance of talking to babies and how a constantly distracted carer can be stressful for a baby. The topic of dads and programs for dads were discussed, as was how crucial it was that babies experience a sense of fun in the home.
Tweddle look forward to presenting further events and seminars with a focus on Infant Mental Health as part of the International movement to advocate for the rights of babies and toddlers.