The AiMH UK Awards 2022 

AiMH UK offers three awards in recognition of individuals from the UK who made important contributions to the infant mental health community in the course of their careers.  

This year we are also offering an additional award to a team in the UK who are working together to make a significant contribution to meet the emotional needs of infants in their community.  


The AiMH UK Founders Award 2022

To recognise those who have highlighted and promoted the work of infant mental health in their discipline or organisation’  

Winner: Jane O’Rourke 

Nominated by Graham Music and endorsed by Dilys Daws & Tessa Baradon

Jane founded MINDinMIND and although a relatively new organisation has already transformed the infant and child mental health landscape. It has as a major aim to make available the most important thinking from some of the leading, most influential and innovative clinicians, researchers and theoreticians in the field. The legacy interviews done so far, and those being planned, make available the ideas and voices of thought leaders whose cutting-edge and often brave theoretical and clinical insights have had a profound effect on generations of practitioners, from psychotherapists to social workers, health visitors, psychiatrists.   


The AIMHigh Award 2022

‘In recognition of a Health Visitor or Early Years Practitioner who has shown a commitment to raising awareness of Infant Mental Health’ 

 Winner: Jane Dagnell 

 Nominated by Laura Devereux and endorsed by Kathy Pelc and Jean Crate

Jane Dagnell has been instrumental in bringing perinatal and Infant mental health to the forefront of service delivery for families in the London Borough of Sutton.  

Since starting her post in 2017.  She has written and delivered multi professional training to practitioners to ensure they all have an awareness of the impact of perinatal mental health and the importance of thinking about infant mental health.  Her training is often described and thought provoking and practitioners start to notice things they have not before.  

She also developed the Perinatal and Infant mental health network bringing together a range of services and practitioners to share best practice and share information of services available.  This group has been instrumental in advocating for increased focus and investment in infant mental health, which has now seen training for practitioners to deliver attachment based parenting programmes and increase in Universal Baby massage groups for all new parents in the borough. She was also successful in securing the funding for a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist, dedicated to working in the Early Years.  She has run specialist Baby Massage groups, as well as running a Well-Being group for new parents in partnership with the local IAPT service. This is all in addition to her Specialist health visiting role supporting new parents with mental health difficulties in their homes and the community.


The Louise Emanuel Award 2022 

‘To recognise those who have demonstrated a significant contribution to Infant Mental Health in terms of practice or through their work in research and policy’ 

Winner: Dr Ian Robson 

Nominated by Donna Carlyle and endorsed by Professor Elizabeth Hoult and Northumbria University

Dr Ian Robson was nominated in recognition of his excellent commitment to the ‘1001 Critical Days’ agenda and his wonderful passion for improving infant mental health and family relationships.  Since 2017 Dr Robson has been actively key to building collaboration between agencies and partnerships across Newcastle City Council.  He is Chair of Newcastle’s 1001 Critical Days Think Tank, Engagement and Impact Lead for KERNEL Early Life Research Consortium and the Children and Young People Implementation Lead for NIHR NE-NC ARC. 

Throughout his career Dr Robson has championed infant mental health and community wellbeing has been at the heart of his research.  His unwavering dedication, enthusiasm, commitment and support for organisational and systemic change and progress is commendable. He has undertaken various projects which demonstrate his desire for partnership, collaboration and working together across the city. 


AiMH-Together award 2022 

‘In recognition of an Infant Mental Health Team working collaboratively and creatively to improve infant mental health outcomes for babies in their community’. 

Winners: The Midlothian Sure Start Team  & The Cardiff Parents Plus Team 

The Midlothian Sure Start team was nominated by Penny Rackett and endorsed by Jillian Adie, Jim Sherval & Martin Higgins (NHS Lothian)

MSS work from six family learning centres and on an outreach basis, reaching some of our most vulnerable families. They work in partnership with NHS perinatal services, the local authority and other third sector organisations as a trusted community organisation, to support mental health, wellbeing and resilience in babies, children and families. Their reputation, which extends well beyond the confines of Midlothian, has been developed through strong leadership and a dedicated, highly skilled team of staff who evidence sound understanding of the foundations of child and family wellbeing. MSS are a continually evolving organisation, always striving to support family relationships through their use of, and development of, evidence-based practice. 

Their determination to create the best possible outcomes for infants and their families not only for their immediate clients in Midlothian, but across Scotland.  They base what they offer on research but are innovative in their approach and evaluate what they do, creating their own evidence base.  I think the fact they do this when their service covers a huge age range from pre-birth to 11 years shows their dedication to infant mental health. 

Cardiff Parents Plus nominated by Dr Nicola Canale and endorsed by Dr Sarah Fitzgibbon and Dr Rhiannon Elvin

This team has been awarded the AiMH-Together award due to their innovative work in taking a psychology-led model into the heart of the community / homes of families across Cardiff, to increase access to parent-infant relational support. This includes working with families from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, families with babies’ and infants on the edge of care and families who are homeless.  

in 2022 (april-december), Cardiff Parents Plus have successfully carried out 1,841 home visits with 126 families. 62 of these pieces of work were carried out with fathers/significant males. In addition to this, 169 sessions were carried out with families who are homeless and 51 with the help of an interpreter.  Furthermore, 199 of these home-based sessions have used Video Interaction Guidance as one of the key tools applied to facilitate change. 

The team has evolved and advanced and every one of them contributes to a shared vision and approach to supporting babies, infants and parents, that is informed by psychology and the evidence base. This shared approach and understanding underpins how the team support one another, and those they work with-colleagues, babies, infants and caregivers. The team are innovative in their approach and ever evolving, always keen to share their understanding at a wider level to influence change and understanding across our whole organisation. 

We were thrilled at the and number of teams that were nominated and it was a very tough decision for the judging panel to choose only 1 team. As it is the first year of this brand new award, we have decided to present two teams the award. 

We would also like to acknowledge the wonderful work that the Knowsley Building Attachment and Bonds Service (Knowsley BABS) and Rebecca Leuw & Debbie Brace’s work with the Reach Childrens Hub in the Borough of Hounslow who were both nominated for this Award.