First 2000 Days

Best Start to Life

A lived experience-led conference

Monday 12 June 2023

The Marquee, Victoria Park – Brisbane QLD

First 2000 Days

Best Start to Life

A lived experience led conference

Monday 12 June 2023

The Marquee, Victoria Park – Brisbane QLD

About the Conference

Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness, with the proud support of our sponsors, invite you to be part of the First 2000 Days:  Best Start to Life conference, held at the Victoria Park Conference Centre on Monday 12 June 2023.

First 2000 Days is a lived experience-led initiative. The conference will explore and discuss the impact Lived Experience (Peer) Workers can have in the perinatal and infant mental health setting, with a focus on improving dyadic and triadic relationships between parents and infants.

The first 2000 days of life is an important time to nourish and nurture babies, but can be a challenging and vulnerable time of life for caregivers.  Stories of hope and re(dis)covery shared by Lived Experience (Peer) Workers enable parents to feel validated and supported through their own mental health challenge(s) during this important life phase.  Such connections can have a life-changing impact on parents, relationships, employment, organisations, and the broader perinatal and infant mental health care system.

The value of inviting Lived Experience (Peer) Workers into existing organisations is immeasurable for current health and social service systems working to improve “best start to life” support for infants, families, and thriving communities.

As a consumer informed conference, the program will also deliver on key messages direct from the community.

Don’t miss this chance to be a part of one of the standout events of Infant Mental Health Week 2023.

Your Unique Opportunity

​This is a Lived Experience-led conference, which will focus on how a lived experience (peer) workforce can contribute to a positive impact on the perinatal and early parenthood period (first 2000 days).

The program will present up to date research and evidence, case examples, and informative material for individuals and services to consider how a peer workforce could be utilised for professionals working in the areas of perinatal and infant mental health and wellbeing.

You will walk away with evidence-based information around lived experience (peer) involvement in perinatal and infant mental health services, including:

      • advocacy
      • service design and delivery
      • workforce development
      • research and data
      • insights into trauma-informed, recovery oriented practices with parents in the First 2000 days
      • thought-provoking experiences that will challenge shifts in current system paradigms
      • inspiration to take action around how you practice and work with infants and families
      • alternative responses for families from a kindness, empathic, and compassion-focused perspective
      • greater awareness around Perinatal and Infant Mental Health service availability within Queensland.

You’ll also be able to explore trade displays and network with representatives from perinatal and infant mental health services.

Our Speakers

Michelle Collins

Michelle Collins

Program Development Lead - Brisbane North PHN


Michelle Costello works at Brisbane North PHN as a Program Development Lead in the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Team for Infants, Children and Young People.

She has worked in health promotion for over 15 years and partnered with communities in the planning, implementation and evaluation of several holistic, ecological and salutogenic health promotion programs.

With the Partnership Brokers Association, Michelle is an Accredited Partnership Broker, Associate and Authorised Practitioner Trainer. As an internal partnership broker in the PHN she supports partners and other partnership brokers to create and sustain functional partnerships to drive collaborative social change that improves people’s lives.

We are honoured to have Michelle on board as our Master of Ceremonies.

Viv Kissane - OAM

Viv Kissane - OAM

CEO/Founder - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness

After her own personal experience with perinatal mental illness, and losing a family member to maternal suicide, Viv co-founded Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness in 2011. Since then, she has been using her lived experience to not only work directly with mothers, fathers and children but also to spread awareness and understanding of the importance of perinatal health and wellbeing across a broad spectrum of society.

Viv has recruited, trained and supported Lived Experience (Peer) Workers and continues to provide supervision and mentorship. Her role has seen her develop and implement organisational policy unique to a Peer Operated Service, as well as programs that aim to reduce the impact of perinatal mental illness on families and communities.

Viv is currently the co-Chair of the Queensland Lived Experience Workforce Network (QLEWN), a LEAD member of the national Mental Health Lived Experience and Engagement Network (MHLEEN).  She has previous board experience with the Queensland Alliance of Mental Health (2016 – 2019) and has extensive experience in consumer representative and consultation work in governance and strategy at National, State and local levels.   In 2022, Viv received an Order of Australia medal for her work in community mental health.

Cate Rawlinson

Cate Rawlinson

Service Development Leader - Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Cate Rawlinson is a Psychologist with 25 years’ experience working in public mental health and private practice across the lifespan.

For the past 12 years Cate has worked as a state-wide Service Development Leader at the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health.

Her role focus is facilitating the development and implementation of perinatal and infant mental health services, workforce, promotion, prevention, early intervention, and research in Queensland.

Amanda Connell

Amanda Connell

Clinical Psychologist - Spilt Milk Psychology

Amanda Connell is a clinical psychologist working at the intersection of infant feeding, mental health and early parenting. Alongside her clinical work, Amanda has a strong online presence and large following among both parents and professionals. Through her practice, Spilt Milk Psychology, Amanda is redefining the way that parents access high quality, professional information and support in the modern world.  

For too long, discussions around parental mental health have pitted parents against their children in the battle for happiness. Amanda passionately believes there is enough love for everyone. She champions the mother-baby connection, bringing fierce compassion to perinatal mental health. Her human-centred approach empowers families by providing insightful, practical, and relatable information and support.

Taryn Collins

Taryn Collins

Senior Perinatal Peer Support Worker - Catherine's House

Taryn has a lived experience of perinatal mental illness after the birth of both her children in 2012 and 2016. This lived experience fueled Taryn’s commitment to helping others on their pathway to recovery.

In 2018 she commenced a role within Belmont Private Hospital as a Consumer Carer Representative allowing her to actively advocate for consumers as well as contribute to positive change within the mental health system. Furthermore, Taryn continues to serve as a PANDA community champion. She has contributed to the education of mental health and midwifery clinicians on perinatal mental illness as well as contributed to various projects to enhance PANDA’s service delivery.

In 2023 Taryn left her role as an Occupational Therapist and commenced at Catherine’s House as the Senior Perinatal Peer Support Worker. She is passionate in supporting consumers through modelling recovery and hope, assisting consumers to advocate their needs as well as educating staff within the service about lived experience (peer) work.

Jen McCall

Jen McCall

Peer Service Co-ordinator - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness

Jen became part of Peach Tree in 2012 when she began regularly attending one of the peer support groups.  Jen found peer support invaluable during her last pregnancy after two previous second trimester miscarriages. When an opportunity to volunteer and run the peer support group she had been attending came, Jen emphatically shut the door on her nursing career and took it.

Ten years later she is the Service Coordinator for Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness and is passionate about providing quality peer support to positively influence lives.

Jen has a Bachelor of Nursing, a Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work and is currently studying Cert IV Trainer and Assessor. Jen is a lived experience leader who sees her future in training and mentoring future perinatal peer workers. 

Liz Bennett

Liz Bennett

Team Leader - Perinatal Wellbeing Team Mental Health Metro North

Liz is the team leader of Perinatal Wellbeing Team Mental Health Metro North based at Nundah Community Health Centre. She is a Registered Nurse and an Accredited Mental health Nurse. Liz has worked in health for way longer than she cares to admit! She admits to a few decades though!

Liz is passionate about advocacy, breaking down barriers and encouraging linkage with services. Her catch words are “village and validation” something that is lacking from so many of our lives.

Liz is proud to be the Team Leader of an incredibly dynamic and motivated team. The team are exemplary and meticulous in their service delivery all through the lens of trauma informed care.

Nicki Walsh

Nicki Walsh

Statewide Consumer Carer Coordinator - Perinatal and Infant Mental Health at the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Nicki identifies as having experienced significant perinatal and adult mental health challenges, and is a parent of two young people who have experienced infant, child and adolescent mental health challenges. 

Nicki is passionate about mental health for young parents aged 21 and under (having experienced life as a young mum), and is an avid campaigner for increased and more affordable mental health and early parenting services to support our young families. 

Nicki lives and thrives with both mental illness and ADHD, and is a proud advocate for neurodivergent young people and adults across Queensland.

Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones

Social Worker - Children's Health Queensland

Sam Jones is a Social Worker who has worked extensively with children and their families in both government and non-government roles.

She is currently employed as an Infant Mental Health Clinician at the Zero to Four Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Children’s Health Queensland.

Sam has previously coordinated the Zero to Four Family Support Service from 2013-2021 which involved recruiting, training and supervising volunteers to assist infants and their families in their home environment.  Both Zero to Four CYMHS and the Zero to Four Family Support Service are based at the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health in Nundah, Brisbane.

Libby Smith

Libby Smith

Program Co-ordinator - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness

Libby is the Sunshine Parenting Program Coordinator for Peach Tree.  She has spent the last four years managing the day-to-day functions of the program, as well as learning the intricacies of working within a lived-experience peer support organisation.

She has two young children and is often solo parenting when her husband is traveling overseas for work.

Libby had roles within the public service in education and governance prior to joining Peach Tree.  

Libby has a Masters of Public Health and Bachelors in Business Management (Marketing and Communications) and Arts (English and Psychology).

Fiona Parchimowicz

Fiona Parchimowicz

Program Co-ordinator - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness

Fiona has a Masters of Public Health and a passion for health promotion and wellness. After the birth of her daughter, Fiona experienced postnatal depression first hand. 

After that, she hoped to be part of an organisation that offered a non-judgmental, lived-experience based space for parents in their own perinatal journey. Fiona joined Peach Tree as a Perinatal Mental Health Peer worker in March 2022. 

Initially working in group based facilitation, Fiona is now works at Peach Tree in a Program Intake and Delivery role.  She particularly oversees the operation of the Connecting Parents to Pathways Program, an eight week 1:1 peer support program for mothers with complex trauma.  This is a lived experience designed and delivered program, which is currently being evaluated under a pilot phase.

Rani Farmer

Rani Farmer

Chief Operations Officer - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness

Currently Chief Operations Manager, Rani has worked with Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness for over 10 years.

In addition to her own lived experience of PMH challenge(s), Rani has 15+ years’ experience in project management, parent education, and program facilitation, including a Master of Primary Maternity Care and PostGrad Degree in Psychology.

Passionate about Impact and Evaluation, Rani ‘s primary goal is to utilise Peach Tree’s existing brand, database, and frameworks to contribute to the growing research evidence-base around PMH Lived Experience (Peer) Work. The value of using data insights to share Peach Tree’s story through purposeful and meaningful story-telling provides a unique evaluation perspective within the PMH sector.

Donna Humphrey

Donna Humphrey

Lived Experience Workforce Development Manager - Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness


Donna has been developing a Perinatal Mental Health Peer Work Skills Training with Peach Tree and has successfully
delivered these workshops to all our Peer Workers as well as a pilot training with a group of Peer Workers at PANDA in 2022. Donna is currently working with Catherine’s House Peer Workers in building knowledge, leadership, and resilience for this unique workforce.

Donna has worked in the mental health sector for over eleven years, working as a peer worker and then a project leader for key Lived Experience Workforce training workshops and Conferences (Dialogue LE Workforce Conference) as well as collaborating on many projects to upskill and elevate the Peer Workforce in Australia.

Donna appreciates how much our Lived Experience practice cultivates, inspires, and models recovery and is grateful every day to be working in a role that aligns with her passion and purpose.

Exhibitor Showcase

Peach Tree/PANDA

Belmont Hospital

Mater Hospital

Stride Kids

Pregnancy Counselling Link

Disability Maternity Care

Thriving Kids Qld Partnership (Aracy)

Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA)

Qld Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Hospital Health Service – Perinatal Mental Health Teams

Pricing and Registration

Register now to be part of this unique conference experience

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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Register now and be part of this unique lived experience led conference

Contact Us

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Acknowledgement to Country

Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness respectfully and wholeheartedly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our families, staff, volunteers and Board work, gather and connect. We pay respect to the First Nations People and their Elders past, present and emerging and recognise their ongoing spiritual connection and relationship to this country’s land, waters, winds and community. We are honoured to journey with the First Australians on the path to healing and reconciliation.