Maternal-Infant Mental Health and Occupational Therapy
We believe there is a role for occupational therapy in maternal-infant mental health. Because a mother and infant's occupations are intertwined (co-occupations), so is their mental health - neither one can exist alone. If a mom is experiencing a mental health disorder during the perinatal period, it has been shown to impact the infant in many ways.
“The affective environment that surrounds co-occupation is as important to development of the infant as the actual performance of the co-occupation” (Esdaile & Olsen, 2004).
“For occupational therapists, supporting the occupation of mothering is a significant part to play if we are to maintain a mother’s ability to respond to the needs and well-being of her children” (Oates, 1997)
Below are resources that can help you learn more about maternal-infant mental health as well as recommendations on how to incorporate this lens into your current practice area.
Maternal Mental Health Training
Maternal Mental Health 101 Training (Free) (Postpartum Support International (PSI) and 2020 Mom)
Models that Made It (2020 Mom)
Opportunity: Patients are not aware of maternal mental health disorders, the number of mothers impacted, and where to find help.
(a) Place posters* in exam rooms and bathrooms listing signs/symptoms of maternal depression and/or other mental health disorders listing at a minimum the telephone number for Postpartum Support International.
(b) Provide to newly pregnant women, a brochure or palm card* listing signs/symptoms and at a minimum the telephone number for Postpartum Support International Warm Line (1-800-994-4773).
(c) So you may offer further resources when asked, educate yourself on the resources that may be available in your community. If no resources exist, provide the phone number for Postpartum Support International when needed.
*These materials are available here.
Welcome to Holland Poem This can be helpful for parents of children with disabilities
Films about Maternal Mental Health