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    The clinician, the family, and systems: Building infant mental health into the future

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    Event description

    Please join us for the Healthy Development Adelaide (HDA) and Australian Association for Infant Mental Health SA branch (AAIMH) forum. 

    As Infant Mental Health Awareness Week approaches (10-16 June) this year’s theme is ‘Speak up for the babies’. This forum seeks to increase awareness and build infant mental health into the future by combining the clinician, the family and the systems involved.


    Sally Watson, SA branch President, Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH)

    AAIMH and building our workforce competencies

    Sally Watson is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 40 years experience. For over the last 20 years she has worked in the area of Infant Mental Health as a clinician and advocate. She was National President of the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH) from 2014- 2017. She is currently President of the SA Branch of AAIMH and is the SA representative on the National Board of AAIMH. Sally has extensive training in Evidence Based interventions for working with infants, young children and their families. In her role as working as an Infant Mental Health Practitioner she has worked in Early Childhood education contexts, Child Protection and Therapeutic Reunification, CAMHS as a clinician and consultation role and currently works as Mother Infant Therapist on a Project at Helen Mayo House, Adelaide.

    Dr Patricia O’Rourke, Child Psychotherapist and Psychodramatist / Senior Lecturer, Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.

    The Maternal Looking Guide: A clinical tool to identify perinatal support needs

    The Maternal Looking Guide (MLG) is a one-page clinical tool for hospital and community perinatal professionals. It assists them to reliably identify early in the emerging relationship, those mothers and babies that need extra support. Patricia will outline the theory underpinning the guide, how it was developed, introduce it using a short clip from the MLG training video and highlight how its use can benefit perinatal workers and their clients – mothers, babies and the mother-infant relationship -  and organisations providing care.

    Patricia O’Rourke is a Child Psychotherapist and Psychodramatist. She is a Senior Lecturer with the Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, a staff member with Psychodrama Australia and an Associate Editor of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health. Patricia’s special interests are preventative work with infants and their families, reflective supervision and psychodrama and group work training. She is a consultant, trainer and supervisor in private practice.

    Lynly Mader, Senior Occupational Therapist, Infant Mental Health Therapist, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Health Network

    Infant mental health within a paediatric hospital: Supporting the infant-parent relationship within the context of a medical diagnosis

    At present, Lynly’s focus is in addressing disruptions to infant and parent co-regulatory experiences within the first years of life due to diagnosis of complex medical conditions within the infant. An area of particular interest is disordered feeding interactions and the impact of artificial feeding mechanisms on the Attachment relationship.

    Lynly Mader is an Occupational therapist with some 30 years’ of experience in working with parents who are facing complex issues including mental illness and the intergenerational experience of trauma and abuse. This has involved the assessment of parental capacity and the provision of infant-parent therapy, within multiple settings.

    Joy Makepeace, Kamilaroi / Murrawari woman from North Western New South Wales

    Infant Mental Health Education Interpretation for Aboriginal Team and Community. Meaning making in culture.

    This work highlights the highly successful implementation of a 10 week Introductory Certificate in Infant Mental Health course for a team of 7 Aboriginal staff members at the Connected Beginnings organisation based in a rural town in South Australia ~ Port Augusta. The training was adapted from a mainstream version to a culturally safe and applicable version for this team. The aim of the training was to enhance the team's capacity to understand and then support the mental well-being of infants and their caregivers within the Port Augusta region and broader Aboriginal community. Through this culturally sensitive and collaborative approach, the program has provided valuable knowledge and skills to the team and has created a deeper understanding of infant mental health within the Aboriginal context. The positive and ongoing impacts of this training on the community holistic approach to healthy child development will be discussed in further depth and detail.

    Joy is a Kamilaroi / Murrawari woman who is also a member of the Stolen Generation. Joy has 3 young adult children. Joy has a BA in Applied Science, Grad Dip in Educ (Sec) and her MA in Social Science (Counselling). Joy delivers the Introductory Certificate in Infant Mental Health and the Introductory Certificate in Perinatal Health to Aboriginal workers in rural SA. Joy provides Reflective Practice Supervision to Aboriginal Health Workers, Nurses and Midwives. Joy works as a Cultural Lead for a National Phone Helpline for expecting and new parents. Joy is determined to spread the word about the importance of the first 1000 days amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Joy is also one of the inaugural SA Voice to Parliament Elected Members for the Yorke Mid-North Region.


    Rachael Yates, Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery, Women’s and Children’s Health Network / HDA Ambassador

    Rachael Yates was appointed Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery in September 2022 at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN). Rachael is the professional lead for nursing and midwifery across WCHN. Rachael has held senior leadership and management experience in regional and metropolitan services, including the deputy Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer for South Australia in 2021/22, a well-respected leader in the nursing and midwifery profession in South Australia. She has had significant experience in change management and in collaborative design and development of health service delivery, including influencing future strategic and operational opportunity for the networks and the nursing and midwifery workforce. Rachael is committed to contemporary nursing and midwifery practice and evidence informed models of care.

    Other event information:

    Everyone is welcome to attend including the general community. There will be a panel discussion and time for questions from the audience after the presentations. We will conclude with networking and light refreshments from 7.30pm.

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