Welcome to this Spring (2021) edition of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health. Since the last issue, COVID-19 remains a constant for many of us across the globe. The impact has been harshly indiscriminate, especially for families with infants, toddlers, and young children. We acknowledge every baby across the globe and strengthen our resolve to be actively engaged in ensuring that every baby is seen, protected, and provided with nurturing care, along with their families and their communities. We acknowledge all infant and early childhood mental health professionals who are working relentlessly with, and on behalf of babies and their families amidst this COVID-19 pandemic.
This issue focuses on sharing information about the WAIMH Congress in Brisbane, Australia (June 22-26). WAIMH President, Assoc Prof Campbell Paul and WAIMH Executive Director Prof Kaija Puura, begin with Congress updates. These updates represent a huge amount of work on behalf of WAIMH, and on behalf of WAIMH, we offer our thanks to Campbell, Kaija, and the WAIMH Congress team. Furthermore, details have been provided by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) led by Dr Elisabeth Hoehn, Libby Morton, and Emma Taylor from ICMS Australasia (Congress organiser). Once again, these updates represent mammoth efforts and innovation.
We thank the whole Congress team for their perseverance, creativity, and commitment to create a WAIMH Congress that is accessible, across time zones with connection possibilities for delegates. The 2021 WAIMH Congress, will be a Hybrid Congress. That is, it is possible to participate in the Congress, live in Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, or virtually, online. This provides information, updates and ways to participate.
Emer Prof Astrid Berg (WAIMH President-Elect) offers memoriam for Dr Nancy Suchman. Dr Suchman’s passing has been met with much sadness and loss. Her contribution to the field, as a friend, mentor, researcher, innovator, practitioner, was profound with foundational and ground-breaking research in psychotherapeutic work with parents with drug addiction. Her work was grounded in a deep respect for the suffering of parents who arrive at parenting with addiction, loss, and trauma by their side. She is and will continue to be greatly missed. If you have not yet come across her work, you may like to explore her work “Mothering from the Inside Out”.
We also draw attention to The Signal and Perspectives Infant Mental Health Archive, which is full of many gems, with papers dating back to 1993. In so doing, we feature a paper, originally published in The Signal (1998), “The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience”, written by Daniel Siegel. Dr Daniel Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, and the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.
His work has been and continues to be hugely influential across field and disciplines including early relationships and parenting. If this a new area of learning for you, or if you are looking for a refresher, this paper by Dr Siegel, written over 20 years ago, provides an excellent overview. Furthermore, this paper is being republished as part of a dialogue with Perspectives in Infant Mental Health readers regarding an updated paper that will be featured on interpersonal neurobiology and early relationships in our December 2021 issue.
Shifting from neurobiology, we then turn our focus to community-based participatory approaches to early child and family care and development. Colleagues from Austria, Gabriele Antony, Theresa Bengough, Carina Marbler, Sophie Sagerschnig, share with us, about their programme: The Austrian Early Childhood Intervention Programme: Support for families with young children in burdened life circumstances in order to improve relational health and well-being.
In 2019, the WAIMH position paper on Infant’s Rights in Wartime, written by Prof Miri Keren, Dr Ghassan Abdullah, and Prof Emer Sam Tyano, was published in the Infant Mental Health Journal. The paper draws our attention to the impact of traumatic consequences upon infants and young children and their families, who are living in war zones across the globe. This paper has been made available as an open-source paper by the IMHJ and Wiley. The link is provided in this issue.
Of note, the Perspectives in Infant Mental Health Editorial team are currently working on re-writing the Author Guidelines and these will be available in May 2021. As a reminder, Perspectives papers can be accessed online, with past issues dating back to 1993 currently available by following this link: https://perspectives.waimh.org/perspectives-archive/. Also, past articles are available online in text format, which in turn can be shared: https://perspectives.waimh.org/. The WAIMH office staff, led by Dr Minna Sorsa with Neea-Leena Aalto and Sari Miettinen do an amazing job in the office. They juggle all things WAIMH and like that above, their office update is a fleeting summary of what they do on our behalf. Thank you so much.
Finally, we hope to see many of you (in person and or virtually) in Brisbane at the WAIMH Congress, June 22-26, 2021.
May you and your families and friends, stay safe and well.
Maree Foley, Switzerland, Editor-in-Chief
Patricia O’Rourke, Australia, Associate Editor
Jody Todd-Manly, USA, Associate Editor
Azhar AbuAli, United Arab Emirates, Associate Editor
Chaya Kulkarni, Canada, WAIMH Board Member Associate Editor
Salisha Maharaj, South Africa, Intern Editor
Minna Sorsa, Finland, Production Editor