Babies – like all humans – can have good mental health, poor mental health or anything in between.
The first 1000 days of a child’s life is crucial to their mental health later in life. All babies need to feel safe and looked after – it’s what sets up their expectations of what a loving relationship feels like.
If the baby is not fed when they are hungry, held when distressed or spoken to regularly, they quickly learn to expect not to be looked after.
Continue reading “Video: Radically improving someone’s life: the emotional health of the babies”
By Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Berry Street – Take Two
Learning to talk, walk and play have been bigger achievements for Kassie than for most kids.
When Kassie entered foster care as a toddler, she was severely developmentally delayed and clearly malnourished. She couldn’t walk or talk. She couldn’t hold eye contact and didn’t know how to play. She vomited 40 to 50 times a day, every single day but for no obvious medical reason.
Continue reading “Learning to trust through play”
By Dr Nicole Milburn, Infant Mental Health Consultant & Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Berry Street – Take Two
As a community we often discuss the poor mental health of adults and young people, but rarely do we really look at the mental health of babies. This is unfortunate because it is the relationships and environment a baby experiences during infancy that often set the conditions for that baby’s mental health during later adolescence and adulthood.
What is mental health for a baby?
There are three key factors that define early mental health and wellbeing.
Continue reading “Why a baby’s mental health really matters”
By Dr. Nicole Milburn, Clinical Psychologist and Internal Consultant for Infant Mental Health at Berry Street Take Two
The Berry Street Childhood Institute has a primary task of helping the community think about what makes a good childhood. In health and welfare work, we are so often required to focus on what is not good enough and what requires improvement. To have an institute in our field that is dedicated to sharing a conversation about what makes a good childhood is a really wonderful addition.
I am a Clinical Psychologist and Infant Mental Health Specialist. The field of infant mental health has been burgeoning over the last 50 years and has much to say about what constitutes a good childhood. Infant mental health has particular strengths in this area, having come from the fields of both psychoanalytic theory and developmental psychology.
Psychoanalysis has a long history of thinking about what lies inside people’s heads; what conscious and unconscious drives and motivations are acted out in behavior, and how people see themselves in relation to one another. Continue reading “What makes a good childhood?”