Nursing Mental Health Policy and Practice
4 May 2012
How to build resistance and strengthen families living with mental illnesses is the focus of a Churchill Fellowship study tour to be undertaken by Associate Professor Kim Foster from the Sydney Nursing School.
As part of her six-week study tour Professor Foster will travel to Canada, the USA and the Netherlands to explore the work of internationally renowned practitioners and researchers in resilience interventions for at risk groups including children and young people.
Professor Foster says she has been committed to mental health policy and practice since commencing her nursing career more than two decades ago.
"After my general training I did my mental health nursing training and liked it so much I've remained in this specialty ever since."
"I am intrigued by the human mind and as committed to finding ways to help individuals and their families achieve mental health and wellbeing as I was when I first started in this area."
As part of her studies Professor Foster will present her research findings at the 3rd International World Congress on Children of Parents with Mental Illness (COPMI) in Canada.
With statistics showing that 23 percent of children in Australia have a parent living with a mental illness, COPMI is an area Professor Foster is passionate about.
As part of her fellowship tour, Professor Foster will meet with leading researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Children's Hospital Boston to study their intervention programs and research on families where parents are living with depression.
She says, "I am particularly interested in understanding how people become mentally unwell and how we can support them and their families to be resilient."
Professor Foster says she will use the findings from her study tour to contribute to support programs for children and families in Australia, and to build international collaborative research links in the area.
Associate Professor Foster leads the mental health education and research programs in the Sydney Nursing School. Her team's research addresses key areas of national mental health policy, and includes prevention and early intervention with at-risk groups and developing the capacity of the health workforce through emotional intelligence strategies.
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