What is Infant Mental Health?
This is a common question practitioners are asked. The following definitions are given by the World Association of Infant Mental Health and Zero to Three.
Defining infant mental health as the ability to develop physically, cognitively, and socially in a manner which allows them to master the primary emotional tasks of early childhood without serious disruption caused by harmful life events. Because infants grow in a context of nurturing environments, infant mental health involves the psychological balance of the infant-family system.
WAIMH Handbook of Infant Mental Health, vol 1, p.25
In young children, mental health is often equated with healthy social and emotional development, which is defined as "the developing capacity of the young child to experience, regulate, and express emotions;form close and secure interpersonal relationships; and explore the environment and learn, in the context of a caregiving environment that includes family, community, and cultural expectations for young children."
Zero to Three Infant Mental Health Steering Committee.
Definition of infant mental health. Washington, D.C.: Zero To Three; 2001. Available from: www.zerotothree.org
ITMHCA is an affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.
ITMHCA is a member of the League of StatesITMHCA is a member of the League of States using the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health Endorsement system. The League consists of 15 states (as of August 2012) and growing (see map). Arizona was an early adopter of the Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMHE) system and met with other early adopters in September 2007 to agree to reciprocity among our states. Reciprocity means that IMHE earned in one League state is recognized in another. Reciprocity also means all League states must meet regularly to agree to the standards and processes involved in granting endorsement. Quarterly conference calls are held among League leaders; with additional conference calls for subcommittees discussing Research, Training, Policy, and Endorsement coordination. An Annual Retreat provides a wonderful opportunity for League members from all States to meet face to face to conduct business and develop the warm relationships that facilitate the rich dialogue possible on conference calls and in emails. The League communicates on a secure listserv. People from League states frequently request assistance with referrals for I/T and families, for applicable research to support grants, for policy language to address incorporating IMHE into state programs and policies, and much, much more. Participation in the League is advantageous to ITMHCA members! using the MIAIMH IMHE system.
Click map to enlarge.