Infant Mental Health –
understanding of attachment in practice
Julie Watson – Scottish Institute of Human Relations
[email protected]
www.sihr.org.uk
Aims of SIHR Infant Mental Health
Programmes:
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Incorporating infant mental health – a
framework for thinking about effective
ways of working with parent-child
relationships
Infancy is a crucial time for developing
security, attachments and trust
Influences in very early life for future
children’s mental health and wellbeing
Infant mental health – in practice
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Evidence shows that the first year is a
critical period in terms of cognitive
development emotional adjustment; the
quality of attachments heavily determines
subsequent achievement
Infant mental health – the way forward
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“Training” of all staff likely to meet new
families and play a role in the care of
them and their babies, young children will reinforce a coherent approach across
Health, Education, Social work and Early
years practitioners
In partnership, supporting infrastructure
development and use which enables
flexible working practices
Infant mental health in
early intervention context 
About building parenting and family
capacity before and after birth
(biggest gains in improved outcomes and reduced inequality
will come from supporting parents)

Developing a sustainable, confident
and competent children’s sector
workforce
Infant mental health – in practice
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Understanding of healthy optimum
child development
Intensive therapeutic work to
impact upon & secure better
outcomes
Assessing situations and
applying practical solutions
Role of SIHR Infant Mental Health
programmes
INFANT MENTAL HEALTH – our ethos

THE EARLY PARENT-INFANT
RELATIONSHIP IS CRITICAL TO
OPTIMUM CHILD DEVELOPMENT
BOTH WITHIN THE FAMILY AND IN
SOCIETY
WHY INFANT MENTAL HEALTH
MATTERS
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RESEARCH & EVIDENCE BASE
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POLICY & STRATEGIC LEAD

ECONOMIC CASE
IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE AROUND
INFANT MENTAL HEALTH
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Background to the SIHR & Scottish
Gov. IMH project development
Child welfare and protection agenda
SIHR - INFANT MENTAL HEALTH
PROJECT (2006-2009)
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PHASE 1 - Scoping & Research
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PHASE 2 – training & support
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PHASE 3 – delivery & evaluation
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Sustainability –roll out of programmes
from 2010
SIHR IMH project – programmes now
on offer
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Effective delivery across Scotland & NI (CPD)
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4 day -“Observing Infants” & assessment skills
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3 Day Impact of Adult Mental Illness on Parenting
Capacity
3 day - “the act of supervising practitioners using
observation in childcare assessments
1 day- workshop: sharing of “what works” &
working effectively with parent-child relationships
Evaluation
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Each pilot - individual evaluation
Participants feedback; impact on
self/organisation
Follow up: how taken
into/change/influence practice
Sustainability – range of
programmes on offer
Commissioned in house training
SIHR
(Scottish Institute Human Relations)
INFANT MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT
[email protected]
For IMH learning & development programmes
www.sihr.org.uk
SIHR, 172 Leith Walk
Tel. 0131 454 3240
Fax 0131 454 3241
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Infant mental health - Scottish Attachment In Action (SAIA)