What is infant and early childhood mental health?
Infant mental health is the social, emotional, and cognitive well-being of infants and young children.
In January 2021, our focus expanded to encompass ages prenatal to age 5, and our name has changed to Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP).
Infant mental health practice refers to the promotion of optimal development and well-being in infants and young children (prenatal to age five) and their families, the prevention of difficulties, and intervention when infants are at-risk or have identified problems. The goal of infant mental health services is to ensure optimal child outcomes in terms of a sense of security and self-esteem, and the ability to form satisfying relationships, to engage with the world, to learn, to cope and problem solve, and to continue positive development throughout life. Infant mental health services strive to promote stable and supportive families and communities.
Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP) is a coalition of individuals and professional representatives from agencies concerned with infants and their families. IEMHP is dedicated to promoting optimal mental health outcomes for infants through developing and supporting best practices through education and training, dissemination of information, networking and advocacy.
IEMHP was initiated in 1988 by the Department of Psychiatry of The Hospital for Sick Children as the Infant Mental Health Promotion Project of Toronto. Since then we have grown considerably into a national organization and maintain strong representation from community-based agencies across Canada. Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP) provides a collaborative, informed and passionate voice for infants, families and caregivers.
To improve outcomes across the lifespan, we translate and promote the science of early mental health into practice with families during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood.