Welcome to this Spring (2022) 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 and continues to be harshly indiscriminate, especially for families with infants, toddlers, and young children. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, atrocities of war continue with the most current attack on Ukraine resulting in the largest humanitarian population displacement in recent history. The UNHCR Refugee Brief (25 March 2022) stated that nearly one quarter of the Ukraine population have been displaced. UNICEF identified more than half of Ukraine’s children have been displaced https://www.unhcr.org/refugeebrief/latest-issues/.
WAIMH is in the process of engaging with a multilevel response which includes the WAIMH statement on war, that was released on 1 March and heads this Spring 2022 issue (Infants and War Statement – Perspectives (waimh.org)). This statement is followed by addresses, from the president of WAIMH Campbell Paul and from the WAIMH Executive Director, Kaija Puura. Next is an open letter from WAIMH providing an overview of our organization to those who are new to WAIMH. A letter to the Editor, by Kathleen Mulrooney, Miri Keren, and Charles Zeanah, then responds to the previous President’s address on the rights of infants (Presidential Address: The Rights of Children – Perspectives (waimh.org)).
This edition of WAIMH Perspectives in Infant Mental Health includes a special section focused on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) promotion and policy. The promotion of IECMH is central to the aim of WAIMH:
WAIMH’s central aim is to promote the mental wellbeing and healthy development of infants throughout the world, taking into account cultural, regional, and environmental variations, and to generate and disseminate scientific knowledge (waimh.org)
There are six interdisciplinary papers (all submitted before the current crisis in Ukraine) with a focus on infant mental health promotion, including training, and policy, across organisational level.
The special section begins with a paper from our Irish colleagues (Rosarii O’D Connorton, Aine Herlihy, and Ruth Cleary) who provide readers with a view on IECMH health promotion via training and practice reflections regarding Practitioner views and reflections on applying the Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) System within an Irish Context. Next, colleagues from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (Katherine A. Lingras, Amanda Schlesinger, Christine Danner, Jerica M. Berge, Emily Borman-Shoap, Cheri Friedrich, Mary Benbenek, Andrew J. Barnes, Kathryn R. Cullen, Hannah Balder, Greta Alquist, and Catherine J. Steingraeber) report on their experiences regarding IECMH workforce development in their paper A Mental Health Crisis and a Workforce Solution: Bringing Together Interdisciplinary Teams to Improve Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Education and Treatment in Primary Care.
The focus then turns to IECMH service development with a paper from colleagues in Glasgow, Scotland (Alicia Weaver, Andrew Dawson, Fionnghuala Murphy, Fifi Phang, Fiona Turner, Anne McFadyen, and Helen Minnis) who report on a qualitative study: Prioritising infant mental health: A qualitative study examining perceived barriers and enablers to infant mental health service development. IECMH health promotion in community centred practice is the topic of the next paper, written by colleagues in Australia (Linda Campbell, Deborah Costa, Rebecca Stacey, and Rickie Elliott) where they share about their practice endeavours regarding Embedding infant mental health promotion practices within community-centred parent-infant interaction activities.
IECMH promotion and policy are integrated in the following paper by colleagues (Susan Galloway, Helen Minnis, and Anne McFadyen) in Scotland who report on a study that was conducted in response to new national level policy informing strategies regarding IECMH in Scotland. Their paper reports on, Social inequality and infant wellbeing in one area of Scotland.
Next, in Policy, practice and infant mental health – how well do we support parents, who are living with a mental illness, Australian colleagues (Carol Clark, Hannah Jewell, Cheree Cosgriff, and Michelle Hegarty) review primary documents that reflect the policy context in Victoria, Australia.
After this special section, the issue turns to news from the WAIMH affiliate, the Japanese Association of Infant Mental Health (JAIMH). They provide readers with a Report on the First Scientific Congress of Japanese Association for Infant Mental Health (Japanese Affiliate of WAIMH) in Koriyama in Commemoration of the Unification of JAIMH.
Readers are then invited to participate in a new initiative; a virtual WAIMH Perspectives online Book Club. The first book that we will focus on is Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair©. This book is edited by Marva L. Lewis and Deborah J. Weatherston.
News from the WAIMH Office by Minna Sorsa and Neea-Leena Aalto (Finland) follows with a reminder of the forthcoming Lecture Series – Laying the Path for Lifelong Wellness 2022; a 15-part Lecture Series, presented jointly by Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP) at the Hospital for Sick Children and the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) and Tampere University, Finland.
Finally, the issue closes with general information about WAIMH Perspectives (including the paper submission process) and WAIMH Congress 2023, in Dublin, Ireland.
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/.
May you and your families and friends, stay safe and well. Our warmest wishes to you all.
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
Neea-Leena Aalto, Finland, Production Editor