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Infant mental health

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Infant mental health is a term describing optimal social and emotional development of infants and their families in the first three years of life. Cognitive and physical development may also be considered part of the infant mental health picture.

In the United States, the organization Zero to Three [1] plays an important role in research and advocacy for infants and toddlers.

Worldwide, the World Association for Infant Mental Health and its affiliates are active in addressing infant mental health concerns. These organizations publish newsletters and journals such as "Zero to Three" and "Infant Mental Health Journal" and organize conferences and training events for individuals working with young children and their families.Research has shown that support for parents during the first year can significantly increase the proportion of infants securely attached to their parents with lasting benefits for their subsequent development. Similarly Post Natal Depression can be alleviated so that its potentially adverse effect in infant development is reduced. Early intervention can often prevent later mental health problems. A good beginning for young families is a protective factor in coping with stress.

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  • Zeanah, C.H. (2005) Handbook of Infant mental Health. Guildford. ISBN 1593851715

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