As an affiliate of WAIMH, the Infant Mental Health Association of Turkey (IMHAT) was founded in 2005 by its present president Nese Erol (Ph.D.) and her colleagues. Currently the affiliate mainly comprises of 94 individual members from various disciplines such as child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, developmental psychologists, pediatricians, social workers, nurses, child developmentalists, speech and language pathologists and psychological counselors. The administration of IMHAT is in Ankara. It has no branch offices but has representative members in various institutions around the country. IMHAT collaborates with universities and non-governmental organizations such as the Turkish Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Turkish Psychological Association and the Foster Care and Adoption Association of Turkey. Presently, the main activity of IMHAT is training. It is in the process of developing and therefore is striving to increase awareness regarding the field of infant mental health among professionals and the public in general. Training is provided in the form of lectures, workshops and courses, all of which has aroused great interest and enthusiasm among professionals in the area. Also professionals from various disciplines are trained in clinical assessment and treatment in Ankara University Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – Infant Mental Health Unit, where the founders of IMHAT are presently affiliated with. Membership to IMHAT is mainly encouraged through training activities in national child psychiatry and psychology meetings. The members of the association are awarded for their researches and projects on infant mental health.
The most important challenges we face as an affiliate are:
- The paucity of professionals interested in the field;
- Economic difficulties hindering especially international training opportunities;
- Insufficient number of infant and toddler assessment tools developed for the Turkish culture;
- Insufficient awareness, knowledge and experience of the public and policy makers who are critical in supporting the development of the field of infant mental health.
Affiliate web site: www.bebekruhsagligi.org.tr