Individuals involved in supporting infant mental health come from many different backgrounds and disciplines, including education, nursing, early childhood, psychology, social work, pediatrics, and psychiatry (Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, 2009). At times, infant mental health specialists will need to work collaboratively with these professionals to effectively support very young children and their families.
For this Application Assignment, you will develop a resource list of agencies in your community that professionals and families could use to support infant/toddler mental health, and then interview a professional connected with one of these agencies to learn more about the role the individual/agency plays in supporting infant/toddler mental health.
Part 1: Develop a Local Resource List
First, list the “big four” community resources in your area. Include specific names, phone numbers, addresses, websites, and a brief description of services provided related to supporting very young children and their families. Include:
- At least one local hospital/health clinic
- Local/state child protective services
- At least one local mental health clinic/program
- At least one community school system that provides early intervention, special education, and any additional services to very young children and their families
In addition, find the same information for four of the following:
- Counseling services
- Health care providers
- Housing programs
- Job training programs
- Parenting programs
- Food pantries
- Recreational programs
Part 2: Conduct an Interview With a Community Agency Professional
Interview a professional within a community agency to help you gain further insight into the role this individual/agency plays in supporting infant/toddler mental health. Contact one of the above agencies you are interested in learning more about, and set up an interview appointment. (You may conduct this interview in person or on the telephone.) Then, complete the following:
- Confirm the interview appointment.
- Download, print out, and review the Community Agency Professional Interview Sheet. Think about what you have learned about the role of community agencies in providing resources that support infant/toddler mental health.
- Plan to use a laptop computer, audio recording device, or notepad to record your interview responses. When recording, be sure to obtain the professionals permission. Also, make sure to use only the first names of professionals, children, or families you mention, or use fictitious names.
- Using the Community Agency Professional Interview Sheet, conduct the interview.
- Review your interview notes and consider the knowledge and insights you gained from this experience.
- Relate your interview experience to what you have learned about the role of coordinating with community agencies to support infant/toddler mental health.
- Consider the following:
- How the information that you gleaned from the interview compares with what you have learned in your coursework so far
- Insights you gained about the role of professionals and community agencies in supporting infant/toddler mental health
- Your rationale for whether or not you would recommend this community agency to professionals working to support infant/toddler mental health
- Your own assumptions/misconceptions about community agencies and their role in supporting infant/toddler mental health
- Information, knowledge, and/or advice you want to make sure to remember
Write a summary of your reflection. Cite specific examples from the resource list you compiled and the interview you conducted, and references to the Required Resources to support your ideas.
Submit both your resource list (Part 1) and your reflection (Part 2). Save Parts 1 and 2 as a single Word document.
Assignment length: 2–3 pages