This week is Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, an important opportunity to raise awareness around the importance of giving every baby the best possible start to life.
According to the World Association for Infant Mental Health, it is an all-too-common misconception that infants are too young to comprehend or remember, but this is far from the truth.
Tweddle Foundation Chair Dr Nicole Milburn said the experiences we have in the earliest years of our lives impact the development of our brains.
“Experiencing early trauma, such as exposure to family violence or ongoing unrelieved environmental stress, can have a significant impact on brain development, potentially leaving serious and lasting consequences,” she said.
Dr Milburn added that this impact was not inevitable and secure relationships with parents and caregivers can reduce stress caused by trauma and limit the long-term effect on the baby’s development.
The Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris said early intervention for infants and children experiencing stress and trauma is crucial to ensuring positive outcomes.
“Services like Tweddle and other member organisations play an important role in helping families with infants and small children who have experienced stress or trauma.
“Tweddle’s focus on those ‘first thousand days’ reminds us of the opportunity we have to ensure positive life-long mental health and relationship outcomes if we pay attention to the mental health needs of our infants,” she said.
For more information on Tweddle’s services visit www.tweddle.org.au