Podcasts and Webinars: Infant Mental Health


Speaker: Brigid Jordan is a social worker and infant mental health clinician, educator and researcher. Her research focuses on the impact of early life stress on the health and mental health of infants. Brigid played a key role in developing the clinical field of infant mental health in Australia and has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.

The Melbourne Children’s Campus Education Hub has produced this this four-part series on infant mental health with expert guest, Associate Professor Brigid Jordan. Just click the links below to go to Education Hub.

The series covers the emotional development principles of patients aged 0-5 years old, how this can be disrupted by hospitalisation, and how we can support the mental health of our youngest children and families.   

Part 1: Infant emotion and behaviour dysregulation:  

  • what is infant mental health 
  • how babies learn to organise their emotions and behaviour 
  • how hospital can be disrupted these processes and how health 
  • how professionals can do to minimise the negative impacts of hospital 

Part 2: Normal infant crying, sleeping and feeding:  

  • crying, sleeping and feeding are normal infant behaviours, so what are the signs that there might be a problem?   
  • what are the impacts on babies and their parents? 
  • how can healthcare workers can help? 

Part 3: Hospitalisation from a toddler’s point of view  

  • Provides us with a framework for understanding how toddlers react to illness 
  • Explores the difference between tolerable stress and trauma  

Part 4: How to communicate with pre-schoolers:  

  • honesty is the key to communicating with toddlers and children 
  • useful strategies for talking to toddlers truthfully about their illness, asking and answering questions, acknowledging their feelings and listening.


The mental health of sick babies in hospital 

This Melbourne Children’s Campus Grand Rounds webinar explores the effects hospitalisation for the treatment of serious illness has on the mental health of infants and their families, by coupling past research with clinical experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • Dr Megan Chapman, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Infant Mental Health Program Coordinator at RCH. 
  • Associate Professor Campbell Paul, Consultant Infant and Child Psychiatrist, Clinical Lead of the Infant Mental Health Program at RCH and the Childrens Campus Mental Health Strategy Family Centred Care project, and President of the World Association of Infant Mental Health. 

Placing the baby and family at the centre of everything we do 

This Melbourne Children’s Campus Grand Rounds webinar describes the development and implementation of COCOON – the Circle of Care Optimising Outcomes for Newborns. 

COCOON is a patient-centred, family-integrated, and baby-led model of care designed to minimise adverse effects in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It describes:  

  • the science and international guidelines used to inform development alongside staff, consumer and other stakeholder input  
  • resources used by our staff every day to mentor and coach families to maintain the parenting role 
  • positive impacts of COCOON experienced by our staff and consumers    
  • plans for upscaling this model and further studying its impacts, including outcomes for infant and parent mental health outcomes 


  • Dr Leah Hickey, Director of Neonatal Medicine and COCOON Project Lead at RCH 
  • Dr Megan Chapman, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Infant Mental Health Program Coordinator at RCH. 
  • Ms Jenna Rhodes, Ms Polly St. John and Mr Arnie Krishnan, COCOON Care Coordinators 
  • Ms Emma Davison, Music Therapis

Back to Infant Mental Health main page

Acknowledgement of Country

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At Mental Health Central we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, gather and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge all people with a lived or living experience of mental ill-health and recovery. At the Campus, we particularly acknowledge children, young people, families, carers, and supporters. We recognise their vital contribution and value the courage of those who share this unique perspective for the purpose of learning and growing together to achieve better outcomes for the Campus, staff, sector, and all people of lived experience.

Proudly supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation