Conference Reflections: The next focus of social services and human services work will be Infant Mental Health and ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experience.
Preparing the next generation for life begins from zero to three. During the prenatal and infant to toddler stages of life, families have an opportunity to nurture our next generation for school readiness, successful executive functioning, building resiliency, shaping healthy lifestyles, and so many other instrumental developmental life skills.
“Zero to Three”, a national nonprofit organization, states that quality prenatal care and continued care from birth to three years of age greatly shifts the trajectory of our smallest citizens. This shift has the power to instill the value of reading at an early age, erase the vocabulary gap in disadvantaged communities, and prevent child abuse or neglect. This change directly affects positive social and emotional development of children in our communities who will in turn lead and serve our country. With a focus on prevention services from prenatal care to toddlerhood, we can shift the dialog to before addiction is triggered. By intentionally centering on the transformation that occurs in attachment relationships, we can foster a universal mindset on Infant Mental Health, build awareness that an undesired behavior may be the symptom of a deeper developmental matter, and ultimately, prepare our nation’s children for futures that thrive!
All in all, the challenges presented at the Atlantic Summit on Mental Health and Addiction revealed many opportunities to bring stakeholders together and lead conscious dialog about extremely stigmatized topics. Now, it's up to us! Increasing similar conversations can assist in dispelling developmental myths, stopping mental health stigma, and ultimately, spread solutions.