1.3 Health education about young children’s mental health
During recent years, there has been growing awareness of the importance of addressing the mental health needs of adolescents, especially when they are presenting during a mental health crisis. As the twenty-first century has progressed, greater attention has been given to young children’s mental health, including infant mental health. The national curriculum in many countries has included statutory guidance about school-aged children’s personal, social, health and emotional aspects of education and development. This is an important part of the education of professionals and children about good mental health and you will explore this further in Session 5. However, there is still a need to develop messages that help to educate adults about young children’s mental health and this is especially so in relation to babies and very young children.
Several initiatives have been created to promote awareness and educate adults about the importance of infant mental health. For instance, in England, the charity Parent Infant Partnership UK was set up in 2012 and does extensive work to educate and increase awareness of the role of parents, professionals and society in developing good mental health for babies. The website has a great deal of useful information: a link is provided in the ‘Further reading’ section at the end of this session. Similar initiatives are also in place in Australia and the United States; for example, Zero to Three (a link is provided in the ‘Further reading’). You will explore the global concern of young children’s mental health further in Session 4.
So, what are the ingredients that contribute to the development of good mental health in babies and young children? You will focus on this in the next section.