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Mental Health Essay

962 words - 4 pages

Early childhood mental health initiatives exist throughout the literature. As highlighted in the previous section of this paper, earlier interventions have the ability to establish better mental health outcomes for young foster children, specifically under the age of six. According to Bass et al. (2004), early childhood development programs such as within a Chicago preschool displayed a lower rate of maltreatment for children at risk. As previously discussed, maltreatment and mental health are linked, thus their program has the ability to prevent mental health problems for younger children as well as diminish the exacerbation of mental health issues among those in foster care. These initiatives primarily target the interpersonal level of the ecological model.
A common program found among the literature was the use of early childhood home visiting. The basis for such programs includes promoting the “…safe growth and development of infants and children in at-risk families (Heaman, Chalmers, Woodgate, & Brown, 2006, p. 291). Home visiting programs, such as Canada’s Baby First program (Heaman et al., 2006) have a dual benefit of helping achieve positive health outcomes for parents and young children. According to the Evaluation of Ontario’s Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program (HBHC) 2004, visited children scored higher on many developmental infant measures and parents had increased confidence in their own skills as well as a stronger connection with community services available to them. The focus on strength and positive aspects within these at risk families is noteworthy for the mental health wellbeing of both parent and young child hence, the possibility for preventing foster care placement. Although the evidence points towards improved outcomes for parents and young children, the programs’ true success, once again, is defined by other factors. For instance, consent is required before a visiting program can be initiated (Heaman et al., 2006). Furthermore, working together (participatory action) (J. Springett, personal communication, November 22, 2013) at an interpersonal level with parents on mutual goals for positive changes is contingent on developing a trust building relationship. Timing is a vital factor in the formation, advancement and sustainability of trust. In the case of the home visiting programs, the ability to establish trust is influenced by the timing of the initial visit, such as a prenatal visit (Heaman et al. 2006). Although trust takes time to evolve, based on my Nursing experience, establishing a positive rapport helps to ascertain that sense of trust. Generating an early trustful environment allows reciprocal learning between participants. For instance, in the hospital a parent is willing to divulge their story and believe the health provider if their environment is one of comfort and trust. Once that is established, active listening skills is needed for the professional to become astute and reflective...

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