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Hello everyone,

I am trying to raise awareness about the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines and included some brief information below. If you would like further information or would like to arrange a meeting or presentation for your workplace regarding the guidelines email me on aaimhiwacompetencies@gmail.com or call 0405 779 571.

Thank you for your interest in AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines and Endorsement. Recognised as an interdisciplinary field that has progressively grown internationally over the past 35 years infant mental health is defined as the healthy social and emotional development of a child from conception, to birth and through to five years; devoted to the:
- promotion of healthy social and emotional development;
- prevention of mental health problems; and
- intervention and treatment of the mental health problems of very young children in the context of their families. (Zero To Three, 2012).

The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health West Australian Branch Incorporated (AAIMHI WA) is a professional interdisciplinary organisation. It is an active member of the national association (AAIMHI) and is affiliated with the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH). AAIMHI WA aims to improve the profile and importance of the infancy and early childhood developmental period.

Our membership includes practitioners working across primary secondary and tertiary levels of service from a wide range of organisations and disciplines’ (Government, Non-Government including Policy, Education and Health across metropolitan and rural regions).

AAIMHI WA launched the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focussed Practice for the Promotion of Infant Mental Health® in March, 2015 with Dr Deborah Weatherston from MI-AIMH. The Competency Guidelines identify eight areas including skills, knowledge, supervision and experiences in the field which may be used to promote competency and guide training for personnel from the broad range of disciplines and across all levels of service who work with infants, young children and their families.

AAIMHI WA recently (March 2016) purchased the MI-AIMH Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Based Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® license (Endorsement®), from MI-AIMH. Implementation of the Endorsement® system in WA is the next step in AAIMHI WA’s workforce development plan.

The competency based AAIMHI WA Endorsement will provide practitioners working with children 0 - 5 and their families the opportunity to work towards a qualification that recognises their capacity in IMH practice. Endorsement can be achieved across four levels, ensuring all disciplines and levels of service are included and that the broad range of practitioners working with infants, young children and their families can have their skills, knowledge and expertise recognised.

I have included some websites containing relevant information about AAIMHI WA and the report we completed with funding from the Mental Health Commission. This report led to our organisation purchasing of the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines, which is internationally regarding as best practice in relation to a framework and system for building workforce capacity in IMH.

We are leading the way internationally as the first Australian state and country outside of the USA to use and adapt this framework.

AAIMHI WA online information: http://www.aaimhi.org/viewStory/Western+Australia

Report: Building the Mental Health of Infants and Young Children in WA - Workforce Competency Based Training project: http://www.mentalhealth.wa.gov.au/Libraries/pdf_docs/AAIMHI_WA_Building_the_Mental_Health_of_Infants_and_Young_Children_Priddis_Matacz.sflb.ashx

Short webinar (3 min) about the endorsement process and its advantages: http://mi-aimh.org/for-imh-professionals/endorsement/ (you'll see that WA is on the map, the first international organisation to have its IMH Competencies - and working towards establishing a WA endorsement process)

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