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Scholarship recipient to explore mental health needs of young

Friday, 24 Feb 2023

South West Healthcare is proud to announce the 2023 AEW Matthews Scholarship winner, Rachel Robertson.

The AEW Matthew Scholarship provides up to $10,000 for a member of SWH to undertake training or attend a conference or event to learn and develop their skills as a professional. It is open to all staff and all departments to apply.

Ms Robertson is the Manager of SWH’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and will be travelling to Dublin, Ireland in July 2023 to attend the 18th World Association for Infant Mental Health World Congress, to better understand how “Early Relationships Matter”. Her trip will also include some additional training at the Anna Freud Centre in London and site visits to leading CAMHS settings in London that work with infants and their families.

“I am very grateful to both the AL Foundation and South West Healthcare’s board of directors and executive for providing me with this amazing professional development opportunity. I look forward to returning back to SWH to share my learning which will inform the development of our new infant and child mental health stream,” says Ms Robertson.

“The AEW Matthew Travelling Scholarship is incredibly important for our health service. It is great to see staff looking for opportunities to expand on their skills and knowledge, and we encourage all staff to apply so that they can experience and witness best practice around the world and bring those skills back here to the south-west,” says CEO Craig Fraser.

In 2022 South West Healthcare began the process of embedding the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Mental Health, with a number of key changes to its Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, including a new infant child and family stream for 0-11 year olds.

“One of the key objectives for the new streaming approach is to ensure greater service delivery to infants and young children who traditionally have been underrepresented in the data across the state as service users of CAMHS teams,” says Ms Robertson.

“The Mental health system focuses on older children, largely adolescents, however research is clear that early emotional wellbeing and the relationships an infant has with their caregiver have long-term impacts on later mental health. We hope to significantly develop a new model of care for the pre-school, toddler and infant age group (0-4 year olds) at South West Healthcare,” says Robertson. 

Rachel will also visit teams working the ground in London with infants (0-2 years old) as well as undertake training at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, a centre dedicated to supporting new ways of working to transform mental health provision with a focus on quality accessibility and effectiveness of treatments.

“During my research to inform our implementation at SWH of the Royal Commission’s recommendations, I came across a body of work based in the UK. CAMHS teams in the UK have been working on the development of evidence-based and high-quality care model for infants aged 0-2 to ensure early access to the best care. I hope to visit one of the sites in London currently providing this care to learn how their services work and bring this learning back to South West Healthcare”.

“As we are embarking upon key reform in the delivery of important services to infants, children and families, the awarding of this scholarship to Rachel could not be more timely. Rachel is at the forefront of the introduction of our new infant, child and family stream and her learnings and observations will be invaluable in leading her team through the introduction and establishment of this new stream. On behalf of South West Healthcare Mental Health and Wellbeing Services I congratulate Rachel on being awarded this scholarship,” says Executive Director Mental Health, Richard Campion.

Page last updated: 30 November 2023

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