IECMHC is an essential part of the continuum of care supporting families affected by maternal depression.
The Center’s vision is that infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) will be seen as an essential part of a continuum of services that support the needs of families affected by maternal depression. IECMHC will help build the capacity of home visiting and early care and education programs to support families struggling with maternal depression.
How IECMHC Can Help Families Affected by Maternal Depression
Early care and education providers and home visitors serve infants and young children and support their families. While many of these providers are well-positioned to identify depressed mothers, they may not know how to intervene directly with mothers who are experiencing depressive symptoms. IECMH consultants can play an important role in building the capacity of these early childhood professionals to screen, refer, and support mothers with or at risk of clinical depression. Consultants can help programs link mothers to evidence-based prevention and treatment services in a timely manner, which may mitigate the impact of depression on the social and emotional development of infants and young children.
IECMH consultants can support early childhood programs in a number of ways:
- Training staff to identify maternal depression, to ask families about their stress and coping mechanisms, and to make referrals for community-based services
- Helping programs strengthen their policies and procedures for supporting families and linking them to services for maternal depression
- Providing ongoing and regular opportunities for reflection, so that early childhood professionals feel equipped to manage (or feel supported in managing) the strong feelings brought on by work with families who experience maternal depression
- The Role of IECMH Consultants in Addressing Maternal Depression Among Clients in Home Visiting Settings (PDF | 206 KB)
- The Role of IECMH Consultants in Addressing Maternal Depression Among Families in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs (PDF | 200 KB)
- Background Information on Maternal Depression (PDF | 480 KB)
- Innovative Approaches to Addressing Maternal Depression Using IECMHC (PDF | 468 KB)
- Professional Development for IECMH Consultants (PDF | 191 KB)
- Resources to Share with Early Childhood Professionals (PDF | 268 KB)
- Special Considerations for IECMH Consultants Working in Tribal Communities (PDF | 350 KB)