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About AiMH UK
The principles and the people behind AiMH UK and the regional hubs

Why does AiMH UK exist?

AiMH UK is an interdisciplinary, not-for-profit organization, promoting understanding about infant mental health (IMH).  AiMH’s primary function is to support the UK community of infant mental health practitioners to come together and learn from each other, and to contribute to the raising of standards of IMH practice.

‘Human relationships, and the effect of relationships on relationships, are the building blocks of healthy development. From the moment of our conception to the finality of death, intimate and caring relationships are the fundamental mediators of successful human adaptation.’

National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2000) From Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Shonkoff J.P., and Phillips D.A, eds. Washington D.C. National Academy Press.

How did AiMH UK begin?

AiMH UK was established in 1996 as an affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) on the initiative of Dilys Daws (Child Psychotherapist and AiMH UK Board External Advisor).

AiMH UK was the first organisation in the UK to promote the concept of infant mental health, and to lobby for IMH to become part of government policy and planning around service provision for the healthy social and emotional development of infants, and support for parents/caregivers. 

AiMH UK was also the first organisation to bring together the many different disciplines/professions in the UK working with infants and their families. AiMH UK has supported many professionals in developing their IMH skills. 

In 2002, Dilys Daws was given the WAIMH Award for her outstanding contribution in creating such a progressive UK affiliate, which in its turn has been an inspiration to many other affiliates.

Our work

AiMH has contributed to the extensive range of IMH reports and policy initiatives that have furthered the growing acceptance that the first few years of life are an important window of opportunity. Conception to age three is the foundational period for future emotional, cognitive and physical well-being. Healthy infant development is contingent upon the quality of relationships within the family during this time.

Families may need support to explore these relationships, and the traumatic experiences that may have impacted on the family. Practitioners’ training needs to facilitate understanding of the complexities of the parent-infant relationship, and enable practitioners to contain the emotions and stress felt by some families. As well as being very satisfying, this work can also be stressful. Practitioners of all disciplines need ongoing supervision and support. 

AiMH UK Hubs provide members with the opportunity to share knowledge and skills with their local multi-disciplinary network of IMH practitioners. Online and face-to-face, the Hubs offer CPD events, share resources, and enable practitioners to engage in discussion on local issues, including using the AiMH UK website forums.

In 2014, AiMH UK hosted one of the biennial international WAIMH Congresses in Edinburgh. With over 1,700 attendees from countries across the world, this congress was one of the largest ever held.  AiMH UK hosts an annual IMH conference, and continues to contribute to national policy initiatives.

Management Team

Jane Barlow

Jane Barlow

President & Trustee

Lin Curruthers

Lin Carruthers

Head of Administration and Finance

Dawn Cannon

Dawn Cannon

Director of Education and CPD

Sara Rance

Sara Rance

Clinical Lead & Trustee

Trustees

Jane Barlow

Jane Barlow

President & Trustee

Robin Balbernie

Trustee

Maddalena Miele

Trustee

AIMH hub lead Rachel Pardoe

Rachel Pardoe

Trustee and Bristol & West Hub Lead

Sara Rance

Sara Rance

Clinical Lead & Trustee

Honorary Advisors

Dilys Daws

Penelope Leach

Penny Leach

External Advisers

Tessa Baradon

Maggie Harris

Ellis Kennedy

Sebastian Kraemer

Joan Raphael-Leff

Executive

Julianne Boutaleb

London Region Hub Lead

Debbie Brace

London Region Hub

Nicola Canale

Wales Hub Lead

Jane Davies

IMHRR

Sarah Fielding

North West Hub Lead

Lizzie Hills

IMHRR

Clare Lord

East of England Hub Lead (Virtual School)

Orion Owen

Wales Hub Lead

Christine Puckering

Scotland Hub Lead

Penny Rackett

Scotland Hub Lead

Julie Watson

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