After searching through topics that we’ve reviewed in this class this semester, I found a couple of articles about infant mental health, which piqued my interest because it hadn’t been covered so much in class. Human health does not only comprise of physical health but consists of elements that lend to mental and spiritual health as well. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances where infant mental health is at jeopardy, such as in the presence of child abuse, violence, attachment problems, depression, and anxiety. So what is currently being done for these infants? What are the current interventions and health promotions being enacted for infant mental health?
What is infant mental health? According to The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning at Vanderbuilt University, infant mental health is the social and emotional development of a child from birth to 3 years of age.
How do we measure infant mental health? In addition to developmental milestones related to speech, recognition, and social cues, infant mental health is also measured by the infant’s ability to experience, regulate, and express emotions.
What influences infant mental health? These include the availability of close, secure, and interpersonal relationships with caregivers and family members. Culture is a huge factor as well, contributing to parenting style and childrearing practices. What is also considered is the infant’s “inborn” capacity to explore his or her own environment and participate in sensory-filled activities?
What interventions are available to help ensure positive infant mental health? Prevention via early childhood care, focused intervention for families experiencing domestic issues, crises, etc., and intensive intervention which includes family support, therapy groups, and coping and stress management workshops.
I feel infant mental health is often not given the attention it deserves. The social relationships and coping behaviors that shape an individual begin at a very early age. What are your thoughts on the importance of mental health in infants? Should it be given more attention? How do you think parenting affects attachment styles and how does that affect current and future mental health in children?