Promoting mental health in the context of perinatal care


Scientific Coordinator: Meropi Michaleli, Ph.D
A multidisciplinary training program organized by the Hellenic Society for Infant Mental Health. The program was addressed to health care professionals from various disciplines (obstetricians-gynaecologists, paediatricians, neonatologists, midwives, nurses, health visitors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists), who provide services to maternity and neonatal/ infant care settings in the public and private health sector across Greece.

The 100-hour program took place over 10 weekends (approximately two sessions per month, 9/2015 – 2/2016) and involved 70 hours of taught sessions and small group discussions and 30 hours of clinical training. Educators were experienced professionals and university scholars from a wide range of clinical and professional backgrounds, so as to highlight the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration for the prevention of mental health pathology and morbidity among expectant mothers, infants and their families.

Taught sessions covered the following topics:

  • The importance of early therapeutic interventions during perinatal period
  • Pregnancy, birth, the newborn: Nature’s path
  • The crucial role of early experiences for the architectural construction of the brain, ego development and individual behaviour
  • Stress during pregnancy and child development: current data
  • Building mother-infant relationship and its importance for the mental health of children and adults
  • Communication capabilities of infants: their evaluation and role in facilitating parent-infant relationship. Discussion of videotaped mother-infant interactions
  • The interdisciplinary team of health professionals: its role in supporting parents and newborns as a crucial factor in prevention of psychopathology
  • Brief psychoanalytic psychotherapy intervention for families with infants and toddlers. Theoretical and clinical data
  • The importance of early detection of developmental disabilities and intervention during early childhood
  • Temperamental and regulatory disorders of newborns and infants. Mechanisms of interaction and organisation of sensory systems during neonatal and infancy period
  • Intervention protocols at NICU and early interventions for premature and term neonates and infants
  • Femininity and infertility
  • The impact of assisted reproduction technologies on early mother- infant relationship, and maternal (and / or infant) psychopathology
  • Prenatal screening and decision making on pregnancy termination
  • Perinatal death: health professionals confronted with perinatal loss
  • Postpartum psychiatric disorders. Postpartum depression: The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)
  • The psychosomatic family system: When the mother-infant dialogue stops, then the body “speaks”
  • Birth and infancy in Greece: an epidemiological perspective