Infant Mental Health Awareness Week Breakfast Seminar

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week Breakfast Seminar


The Tweddle Foundation Presents ‘Understanding Early Trauma’ Infant Mental Health Awareness Week Breakfast Seminar

This year the Tweddle Foundation is thrilled to be presenting an Infant Mental Health Awareness Week breakfast seminar on Wednesday 15th of June.

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (IMHAW) takes place globally from the 13th – 19th June. The 2022 theme is ‘Understanding Early Trauma’.

The Understanding Early Trauma Seminar brings together leaders in the field of trauma, attachment, and ACEs. Through presentations and a panel discussion, guest speakers will explore how exposure to trauma in the earliest years can have a significant impact on brain development, potentially leaving serious and lasting consequences that can create difficulties for children into their adult years.

We will explore how the buffering impacts of caring relationships can change the trajectory of a child’s life with the support of health professionals, parents, and carers.

Tweddle has been celebrating IMHAW since its genesis in 2016. The global IMHAW goal is to raise a greater understanding for policy makers, professionals, and parents about why giving every baby the best possible start matters to their life chances.

We know that 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.

Infant mental health refers to “the developing capacity of the infant and young child (from pregnancy to 3 years old) to experience, express and regulate emotions; form close and secure relationships; and explore the environment and learn,” all in the context of the caregiving environment that includes family, community, and cultural expectations. (Osofsky & Thomas, Zero to Three, 2012).

Very early experiences, both positive and negative, shape the brain, affecting lifelong health, behaviour, and learning. No other stage depends more on the external environment for growth and development. Also crucial during this time to healthy development are secure, responsive, and predictable caregiver relationships.

When parents and practitioners intervene early and work together to understand development, support attachment, and mitigate risk factors that can negatively impact on an infant or toddler’s mental health, it can make a real difference to that child’s long-term outcomes.

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”

 The experiences we have in the earliest years of our lives impact the development of our brains. Experiencing trauma, such as exposure to domestic abuse, in the earliest years can have a significant impact on brain development, potentially leaving serious and lasting consequences that can create difficulties for the child into their adult years. This is not inevitable. Secure relationships with parents and carers can reduce stress caused by trauma and limit the long term impact it has on the baby’s development.

Babies and children’s positive mental health benefits us all through better educational outcomes and more resilient families.

Join us for the IMHAW Breakfast Seminar and hear local and international speakers share their insights into early trauma, early intervention and prevention, and how the buffering impacts of early relationships matter.

Seminar speakers


Prof Louise Newman AM                  Dr Nicole Milburn                  Dr Julie Larrieu            Ms Annette Vickery           


  Dr Joy Osofsky                     Mr Colby Pearce

Professor Louise Newman AM Seminar Keynote speaker and panelist, is a Professorial Fellow in Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Newcastle University and Monash University. She has held senior leadership positions in mental health training and research, including director of the NSW Institute of Psychiatry, and director of the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, and she is currently Director of the Melbourne University BEAR (Building Early Attachment and Resilience) research unit. She is recognised as Australia’s leading researcher in the areas of infant and early child development, disturbances of early parenting, and parent–infant interventions.

Colby Pearce – Seminar presenter and panelist, is a practicing Clinical Psychologist with twenty-seven years’ experience working with children and young people recovering from abuse and neglect. He is also an author and educator in trauma-informed, therapeutic caregiving. Colby’s programs are implemented in Australia and Ireland, and he is well-known for his practical and accessible guidance for caregivers and professionals alike.

Annette Vickery – Seminar Panelist, is a proud Gunditjmara woman with extensive experience across public, private and community sectors. Annette is a signatory to the Aboriginal Justice Agreement Phase 4, an ambassador for the Ngaga-dji (Hear Me) report and chairperson of the Western Metropolitan Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. She has an active interest in social justice and human rights and is a lecturer at Victoria University on the social determinants of Aboriginal Health.

Dr Julie A Larrieu PhD – Virtual Presentation Dr Julie A Larrieu PhD is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director, Division of Clinical Psychology, Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr Larrieu’s clinical and research interests focus on infant mental health. Her work deals with abuse and neglect of infants and toddlers, including identifying risk factors for abuse, as well as predictors of successful treatment for parents who have maltreated their children. She provides training in infant mental health to professionals and to public health nurses who work with a variety of at-risk families.

Dr Joy Osofsky PhD –  Virtual Presentation Paul J. Ramsay Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Barbara Lemann Professor of Child Welfare at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Director of the Harris Center for Infant Mental Health Center. She is a board member and Past President of ZERO TO THREE. Dr. Osofsky is past president of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and has published widely and authored or edited seven books on trauma in the lives of children. She serves as Clinical Consultant on the Leadership team for the ZERO TO THREE Safe Babies Court Program and as the Chair of the Program Committee Workgroup for ZERO TO THREE’s Annual Conference.

Dr Nicole Milburn – Panel Facilitator is Chair of the Tweddle Foundation, Chair Australian Association for Infant Mental Health and Clinical Psychologist

Ticket reservations

Date  Wednesday 15th June

Location   The Newport Substation – 1 Market Street Newport

Time   8.30am light breakfast for a 9am start – 12pm

Tickets $25

Tables of 8 are available

Bookings  –  (Seats are limited).

For the event flyer and more information visit Tweddle’s Infant Mental Health Awareness Week Page


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