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Infant Mental Health in the context of Early Childhood Intervention

David Martin

Here are three good questions about Infant Mental Health.

WHAT IS INFANT MENTAL HEALTH?


Babies and young children thrive when they are cared for by adults. Responsive relationships with consistent primary caregivers help build positive attachments that support healthy social-emotional development. These relationships form the foundation of mental health for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

"Infant Mental Health" is defined as the healthy social and emotional development of a child from birth to 3 years; and a growing field of research and practice devoted to the:

* promotion of healthy social and emotional development;

* prevention of mental health problems; and

* treatment of the mental health problems of very young children in the context of their families.

 

WHAT ARE SOME RISK FACTORS THAT IMPACT INFANT MENTAL HEALTH?


* The impact of poverty
* Early parenthood
* Parental mental illness
* Maternal substance abuse
* Prematurity and serious medical conditions in infancy
* Exposure to violence and early childhood trauma


WHAT ISSUES IN DEVELOPMENT ARE LINKED TO INFANT MENTAL HEALTH?


* Communication problems
* Autism/PDD
* Regulatory issues
* Sleep issues
* Feeding issues, failure to thrive, and obesity
* Attachment
* Posttramautic Stress
* Depression
* Aggressive behaviors