A Collaborative Approach to Explore Ways to Promote Infant Mental Health

Lay Summary 

My project is rooted in the idea that the experiences and environments we are exposed to in the first three years of life can determine health outcomes in adulthood. The experiences and environments shape future results because of the rapid brain development during the first three years of life. To ensure proper brain development, infants need positive interactions with their caregivers. The absence of positive interactions results in a stress pathway overdeveloping and leading to toxic stress. Toxic stress damages brain development of infants. Research firmly supports that IMH (Infant mental health) promotion is needed for healthy development, but IMH promotion has been slow to be integrated into professional practice. There is a gap in preventative services for mental illness. My project seeks to fill in this gap by studying ways to integrate IMH into training for health professionals and allied health professionals for future use. This project is relevant to future health professionals and allied health professionals who are interested in the field of IMH promotion. The list professionals that are interested in this research, but not limited to, are family doctors, pediatricians, psychologists, early childhood educators, nurse practitioners, and social workers. This project will add knowledge to the growing field of promoting IMH. My project will help guide the development of IMH promotion policies and practices at multiple levels, such as the community, organizational, and government. This project aligns with the Government of Newfoundland's action plan to tackle addiction and mental illness. Outside this area of research, the creation of IMH promotion will likely reduce the need for treating mental illness if it can be prevented in the first place.

Community Health and Humanities
Canadian Institutes Of Health Research
Newfoundland and Labrador
Mental Health Services
Industry Sectors 
Health Care and Social Assistance
Start date 
1 Sep 2019
End date 
1 Feb 2021