Celebrating 2022 World Mental Health Day with IAHA Member Sueanne Gola, Clinical Psychologist/Infant Mental Health Clinician

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to shine the light on both First Nations experiences of Mental Health and wellbeing, and on the importance and benefits of early mental health interventions for our youth. As a Kamilaroi (Aboriginal) woman and Clinical Psychologist I have worked in mainstream mental health for 15 years and these are my two areas of passion. Today is an opportunity to share and showcase our First Nations perspectives of Mental Wellness such as the Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) Framework. This framework takes into account the complexity and holistic nature of our experiences of mental wellbeing and includes our connection to land, culture, and community. SEWB also takes into account the historical, political and societal experiences continuing to impact on our experiences of individual and community mental wellness and mental illness.  

Today is also an opportunity to talk about infant mental health. Infant mental health is well established worldwide, however across much of Australia is still a relatively unknown and fledgling area of mental health. I have the privilege and joy of working with families who have children are aged from birth to 5 years of age. I support families in the first weeks of an infant’s life as they get to know the unique addition to their family. I get to work with families to support the social and emotional development of their young children. Most importantly I support parents to improve the mental wellness of the family unit which aides in the recovery from intergenerational trauma and provides the next generation with a strong foundation of mental wellness.

Lastly, but no less importantly today is an opportunity to reflect on Mental Wellness. All too often we talk about mental illnesses and what can be done to reduce a) symptom severity or b) the impact of mental illness symptoms on the individual and/or society. Today is an opportunity to have conversations about Mental Wellness. I‘ll be taking time to reflect on the following: What does Mental Wellness look and feel like for myself, my family and my community? How do I pass on strong foundation of Mental Wellness to my son, nieces and nephews and our future generations?

October 10, 2022


Posted by: Renae Kilmister