Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

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This week marked Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (7th – 12th June) and CHI at Crumlin have been sharing resources and information for families and staff.

Infant Mental Health Group

What is Infant Mental Health?
Infant Mental Health is how a child develops socially and emotionally from birth to 3 years of age. It includes their capacity to experience, express and regulate their emotions, to form secure relationships, and explore their environment, play and learn (HSE, 2017).

Supporting Infant Mental Health at CHI at Crumlin
To provide additional support for parents and their babies who attend our hospital, CHI at Crumlin have established an Infant Mental Health project made up of staff from Psychiatry, Nursing, Neonatology, Speech and Language Therapy, Psychology, Social Work and Occupational Therapy. The team will be providing education for staff on practical ways to support Infant Mental Health and resources for parents and guardians on how they can support their babies.

Dr. Aoife Twohig, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at CHI at Crumlin said:
"The foundations for infants' future health and well-being are laid down in the first years of life. Approximately 1,800 infants per annum are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of Children's Health Ireland1 and many more to the infant wards and emergency departments. Early recognition, prevention and intervention for infant mental health is key and is also cost effective2.

"As the largest children's health provider in Ireland, it is vitally important that we are supporting healthy development in all aspects of care particularly given the challenges some of the infants in our care face. This is even more important now during the current pandemic."

Resources for Parents
As part of this work the team have developed two information poster for parents on how they can support their babies while they are in hospital. Please click on the links below to download the PDFs.

Supporting Infant Mental Health – While you and your baby are in hospital

In hospital

Supporting Infant Mental Health – Parenting when you are out of the hospital

Out of Hospital

References

1. Model of Care for Paediatrics and Neonatology, 2015.

2. Early Childhood Program Effectiveness (InBrief). Center on the Developing Child (2007). Retrieved from www.developingchild.harvard.edu.