The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health West Australian Branch Incorporated (AAIMHI WA) has purchased a license from the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH) to begin using the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® as standards to promote infant mental health (IMH) in Western Australia (WA). WA is leading the way internationally as the first Affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) outside the United States of America to have a licensing agreement to use the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines®.
The launch of the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® is a joint initiative between AAIMHI WA and the Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission (WA MHC). The WA MHC has a number of functions including development and provision of mental health policy and advice to the government, leading the implementation of the Mental Health Strategic Policy, and providing grants, transfers and service contract arrangements.
The launch of the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® will also include the release of The Workforce Competency Based Training Project, which has its genesis in collaboration between The Western Australian Mental Health Commission (WA MHC) and AAIMHI WA. This project was an innovative response to the growing awareness in the professional community of the need to up skill those working with infants, young children, and their families. A significant finding was that WA has a dedicated workforce that is open to change and is aware of the need to develop best practice guidelines for working with infants, young children, and families. This key finding supports AAIMHI WA’s focus on workforce development and the need to adopt a set of competency guidelines that are internationally recognized as the gold standard in IMH. To this end, AAIMHI WA purchased a license from the MI-AIMH to begin using the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® under the auspices of AAIMHI WA.
WA MHC supporting the AAIMHI WA Competency Working Group
The WA MHC awarded the AAIMHI WA Competency Working Group with a grant in December 2014 to support implementation of the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® by providing funding for 12 months of reflective practice supervision for members of the Working Group (approximately 25,000 AUS Dollars). The Working Group was formed in October 2014, following purchase of the license from MI-AIMH. The group represents a range of disciplines across a number of agencies working in perinatal and IMH. It also includes members from rural regions of WA.
The purpose of the Working Group is to support the implementation of the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® into the WA workforce across promotion, prevention, intervention, and treatment levels of service. Responsibilities include:
- In collaboration with MI-AIMH and consultation with key stakeholders, review and modify the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines®, as needed, to assure that all terms and provisions are culturally appropriate for the WA context.
- Critically review and modify the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines®, as needed, to assure that all terms and provisions are culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
- Implement the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® in WA, in collaboration with stakeholders, and develop partnerships for working collaboratively across services and agencies to build workforce capacity in the promotion of IMH in WA.
- Provide advice and links to people and information on the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® and how they can guide training and building IMH Competencies across all levels of service provision.
- Share and disseminate information on events, announcements, and initiatives that relate to the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines® and building workforce capacity in IMH in WA.
- Develop a training model for the AAIMHI WA seminar series and other trainings offered by AAIMHI WA that is developmental and meets specific competencies within the AAIMHI WA Competency Guidelines®.
Next steps for AAIMHI WA
The next step for AAIMHI WA is to purchase a workforce recognition initiative, the MI-AIMH Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Based Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® license (Endorsement®), from MI-AIMH. In preparation, members of the Working Group will work towards earning the MI-AIMH Endorsement®. Criteria for MI-AIMH Endorsement® include committing to group based reflective supervision in IMH, participating in competency-informed trainings, and working with infants, young children, and their families using a relationship based IMH model of practice. Following purchase of the Endorsement® license by AAIMHI WA, and with technical assistance from MI-AIMH, members of the Working Group will implement the Endorsement® system in WA. They will also have a qualification that recognizes their capacity to provide reflective practice supervision to practitioners in WA working in the field of IMH across disciplines and levels of service.
The WA MHC has provided funding for the 12 members of the Working Group to receive two-hour group based reflective supervision, monthly, for 12 months. Beulah Warren is providing the monthly reflective supervision for all three groups via Skype. Part of the funding also includes an intensive face-to-face, one-day reflective practice supervision workshop with Beulah. Each group has had their first reflective supervision session in January of this year and participated in an intensive face-to-face reflective supervision workshop in February 2015.