From IMHP: In this document you will find rich evidence-based information about the unique vulnerability of maltreated infants. You will also find interesting policy recommendations which are informed by strong scientific evidence.
We at IMHP hope that you will be inspired by what you read and embrace the powerful role that you can play in the lives of these especially vulnerable young children. You may be the only person who sees the adversity and works to address the impact it has on their development and mental health.
Extract (p 4): What is Infant Mental Health?
A Note on Terminology: Please note that throughout this text the term infants will be used to reflect children from birth to three years of age.
Zero to Three (2016) has developed the following definition for infant and early childhood mental health:
Infant and early childhood mental health, sometimes referred to as social and emotional development, is the developing capacity of the child from birth to five years of age to form close and secure adult and peer relationships, experience, manage and express a full range of emotions, and explore the environment and learn – all in the context of family, community, and culture.
(Zero to Three, 2016, adapted from Cohen, Oser & Quigley, 2005, pg. 2).
The mental health of infants relies heavily on the support and care of adults, and on having their needs met consistently and appropriately. Infant mental health practitioners and advocates concern themselves with all domains of early development, as social and emotional developmental difficulties may present themselves in many ways.
Infant mental health needs to be a great concern for all practitioners working with children and families; this may include educators, physicians, and early interventionists. Promoting infant mental health, as well as intervening when necessary should be a key consideration to professionals whose work directly influences maltreated and vulnerable children. Child protection workers, lawyers, and judges all have a significant role to play in ensuring that early adversity does not lead to poor outcomes throughout life.
Also, for a UK seminar discussing the mental health of infant with disabilities and their families, see ECI without Tears: Seminar with Peter Limbrick about enhanced child development & family support, Shrewsbury UK, July 2017. £30. Parents welcome