Infant Mental Health Awareness Week events explore the first 1000 days

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week events explore the first 1000 days


This week Tweddle hosted two important events as part of International Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, a global initiative from 12th – 16th June that invites Government, industry and consumers to consider the distinct needs of babies and toddlers and to invest in the critical services that support the first thousand days (conception to age 2).

We were fortunate enough to hear from some incredible guest speakers, health professionals and one amazing dad that reminded us all why we do what we do.

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.

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. Tweddle’s Manager High Risk Programs, Louise Gawler joined Paediatric Occupational Therapist Kristen Pringle, Dr Matthew Roberts, a Psychiatrist specialising in the area of infant mental health and an inspirational HoPES program dad, remind us how powerful early years connections are to babies and toddlers.

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.

A dad that has recently been through Tweddle’s HoPES Pilot program talked passionately about how the 8 week program has impacted his life. This remarkable dad has changed the way he sees his role as a father. He now speaks about how the relationship with his baby is like a car racing track.

His baby is the car and returns to him time and time again for a pitstop to be filled with petrol – or love and reassurance – and then the baby can go back out on the track feeling confident. It all comes down to the quality of the pitstop.

The DHHS funded HoPES program sees vulnerable families in their homes over an 8 week period. With a focus on family preservation and reunification, HoPES has made a deep impact on the lives of many, let alone changed the future for the babies and toddlers of the families taking part.

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.

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