July 08, 2006

Improving Baby Mental Health - New Program for Parents

Neuroscience and psychological research during the past few decades has shown that with the right parenting, children can be made to be much more resilient to stress, and thereby lower the risk of mental health problems. In other words, mentally healthy babies and children are much more likely to grow up into mentally healthy adults.

There is a new parent educational program that has been developed by some of the experts in child mental health with the goal of helping new parents become the best possible parents that they can be. This web site is more oriented towards trainers who would work with parents to educate them about how to help ensure the mental health of their children - but many of the documents and videos may also be used by the rest of us who want to learn about this area.

The educational program is called "Circle of Security" and we highly recommend it for any family where there has been a history of mental illness and where young babies or children are planned or are already in the family.

"Successful parenting is a principal key to the mental health of the next generation." John Bowlby, MD

The program describes itself as follows:

The Circle of Security Project integrates over fifty years of attachment research into a video-based intervention to strengthen parents' ability to observe and improve their caregiving capacity. The use of a clear differential diagnosis for each parent/child dyad [pair] allows the clinician to focus on precise personal strengths and diagnostically significant ("linchpin") struggles, rather than relying on a more traditional "one-size-fits-all" approach to intervention. Attachment theory, taught in this way, gives each parent an individualized parenting "road map," a clear pathway to providing a secure relationship for her/his child.

See the web site for on-line video, as well as good introductory reading materials, and a local seminars (in California and Australia) that they have started or will soon start. www.circleofsecurity.org

There is a good list of documents that can be downloaded on the site - including documents that are in Dutch, German, Hebrew, Russian and Spanish. Circle of Security - reading materials

There are also classes from another institute that focuses on healthy pregnancy and child development:

NCAST - Pregnancy Mental Health, Child Mental Health Classes (Seattle, Washington)
NCAST also has some good educational resources for new families:
NCAST Programs and Products

Additional Resources and Reading/Videos, etc.:
Ten Things You Should Know about Infant Mental Health

Talaris Research - many good books, videos and other educational resources for improving the mental health of your baby.

A Good Educational DVD you can purchase: Ten Things Every Child Needs For the Best Start In Life!

Related reading: Lower level of Family Stress May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia in Children

Academic Sources of related Information:
Attachment Theory and Research at Stonybrook University

Additional Books we recommend on how to Maximize the Mental Health of your baby or young child (by well-known child development expert -- Dr. Berry Brazelton of Harvard University):

The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish

Touchpoints: The Essential Reference--Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development

Discipline: The Brazelton Way

Mastering Anger and Aggression: The Brazelton Way

Touchpoints for Age 3 to Age 6


My mother had a cerebral aneurism on the frontal lobe 2003. She has acted very different since. Her sister was just diagnosed with schizophrenia and they act very much alike recently. It seem there are deep mental health issues throughout my family. Is there any testing centers in the New York area or doctors that could be recommended? Thank you

Posted by: racheal cheung at November 4, 2007 11:29 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required