What is infant and child mental health and why is it important for all practitioners to think about it?

What is infant and child mental health and why is it important for all practitioners to think about it?

Brad Morgan, Helen Francis and Jaisen Mahne

This webinar examined Emerging Minds’ work, focusing on how practitioners and services can develop consistent and engaging child-focused practice.

Young mixed race family relaxing with soccer ball in a park (credit monkeybusinessimages)

This webinar was held on Tuesday 9 October 2018.

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page. 

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

This webinar was the first in an upcoming series of webinars being facilitated in partnership between Emerging Minds and CFCA, with a specific focus on the mental health of infants and children. 

If the social and emotional wellbeing of children is to be everyone’s business, then consistent, cross-sector practices need to be employed in adult- and child-focused services. In this webinar, Brad Morgan, Emerging Minds’ Director, and Helen Francis, Emerging Minds’ National to Local Manager, described how Emerging Minds works across sectors to identify effective practice, and to support practice development that improves the early identification and prevention of child mental health issues. They explained the suite of resources that Emerging Minds produces, and how these can help practitioners and organisations to develop child-focused and parent-sensitive practice.  

Emerging Minds’ child and family partner discussed their experience of service delivery, examples where practitioners have provided child-focused service provision, and examples where opportunities were missed. 

Learning outcomes include understandings of:

  • why early identification and prevention of children’s mental health issues needs to be everyone’s business
  • managing the impact of adult issues on parenting as core business in adult health and social services
  • the work of Emerging Minds in partnership with practitioners and organisations to improve services for children and their parents
  • effective practice support for children’s social and emotional wellbeing, in the presence of family difficulties.

This webinar was the first in a series focusing on children's mental health. It has been co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds. They are working together as part of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

Emerging Minds logo


Featured image: © GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

About the presenters

Brad Morgan

Brad is Director of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. He is responsible for bringing together the partner organisations for this exciting initiative, creating a knowledge bank and national commitment to supporting infant and child mental health. He is leading the establishment of the Centre and directing the development and delivery of the program.

Brad, while Director of Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) national initiative, made a significant contribution both nationally and internationally to improving mental health outcomes for infants, children, adolescents and their families. His relationships contributed to the evidence flow between international and Australian research and practice. He brings his background in occupational therapy, rural health, early childhood development and mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention to the fore by leading systems change and workforce development strategies that build the knowledge, skills and capacity across systems and workforces. His contextual awareness and understanding of rural nuances drives his commitment to ensure learning and development is relevant and available to practitioners across Australia, especially in rural and remote Australia.

Helen Francis

Helen is responsible for leading the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health's national to local strategy.

She has a vast knowledge of health/human/community services with a combination of over 30 years' management experience, identifying service gaps, and developing community partnerships advocating for ‘joined up solutions to local issues’.

She has extensive experience in child and family mental health, training and development, action research, community consultation, community development and capacity building initiatives, and ‘lived experience’ engagement in the process of co-design.

Jaisen Mahne

Jaisen is child and family partner with Emerging Minds. He has worked periodically in the mental health field since 2013 and holds a Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work. He has contributed to projects with organisations such as the Children of Parents with a Mental Illness national initiative (COPMI) and Emerging Minds, and is a trained facilitator and guest speaker, delivering short programs and speaking at mental health expos. He has sat in on interview panels and forums as a consumer representative, utilising his lived experience as both a consumer and carer to provide advice and feedback on issues surrounding the improvement of mental health services.

He currently works in a voluntary capacity for Flourish, Mental Health Action in Our Hands Inc., as both a consumer representative and as Coordinator for the North-West regional Flourish Action Group. He has also just undertaken a role on the board of Flourish. Passionate about the improvement of mental health services for people of all ages, he hopes his engagement with service providers and health services in his role as a consumer will lead to progress in service delivery. He lives in North-West Tasmania with his wife and four children.