Washington Infant Mental Health Issue Briefs

Prenatal-to-5 mental health is a priority for Washington families

A series of issue briefs from School Readiness Consulting outline opportunities to advance infant, early childhood, and parent mental health in Washington State. Informed by family, provider, community, and system leaders from across the state, these briefs make the case for deepening our collective focus on supporting mental health and wellbeing during the earliest years. They also highlight opportunities for systems to better support families impacted by racial, economic, and gender injustice.

To all those who informed this work, whether you participated in focus groups or interviews, sat on the Advisory Table, guided the Community Council, or conducted research and analyzed findings, Perigee Fund thanks you. Your commitment to the wellbeing of babies, toddlers, and their families inspires us. You are creating a brighter and more equitable future for Washington State.

Providers expect that someone else will help parents with their emotional and mental health needs. The NICU assumed that my doctors would talk with me. My doctors assumed the pediatrician would talk with me. The pediatrician assumed the ESIT provider would talk with me. The ESIT provider assumed the outpatient therapy provider was talking to me. Everyone assumed that someone else was educating, informing, and supporting me and my mental health needs. I was strong enough to realize that I needed help and that I had to help myself by seeking counseling. Not every parent is able to do this for themselves. EVERY provider that works with families must change the way they approach supports for infants and children; if the parent is not well, the child and family will suffer.

– Parent interviewed for project