Building awareness of parenting and mental health

Providing primary care clinicians with the latest research and updates on the links between mental health adjusting to parenthood and infant attachment is the focus of this year’s St John of God Health Care 10th annual Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Seminar.

St John of God Health Care perinatal mental health

19 July 2019 

The seminar, presented in conjunction with the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, is focused on highlighting how mental health issues can make it hard or prevent women from forming healthy attachments with their baby during the perinatal period.

St John of God Health Care Chair Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Research Unit Professor Marie-Paule Austin said this focus was chosen because identifying and helping women during this time was incredibly important to the wellbeing of mother and baby for years to come.

“What we find is that women who have mental health issues or a history of trauma have difficulty bonding with their baby because the perinatal period is a time when these vulnerabilities are rekindled- just at the time they need to be most available to baby ,” she said.

“We want to raise awareness among primary care clinicians that emotional wellbeing could be a factor that they need to consider if they notice that something is not right in the woman’s approach to caring for their baby and their ability to pick up the baby’s cues.

“The first 18 months of life are so important for a child to develop strong and secure attachment. 

“If the mother isn’t available emotionally at this time, because of mental health or trauma issues, then they can’t attend to their baby’s emotional needs. This means baby may have difficulty developing a secure attachment which is a cornerstone for the development of lifelong emotional resilience and good mental health.

“Caring for mother and baby at this time is crucial for the emotional wellbeing of the next generation.”

This year’s presentations include updates from clinicians at St John of God Burwood Hospital’s Mother and Baby Unit and St John of God Raphael Services, in addition to updates from a range of researchers in the field. 

Find out more or register to attend.