Infant Mental Health for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Rx Social
Physical and mental health are inseparable. Good nutrition, stimulation, and a nurturing environment are critical for optimal infant brain development. It is difficult for families living without basic necessities, decent housing, safe air and water, or opportunities for enrichment to fully provide an adequate environment for healthy social-emotional development. Homelessness, hunger and intimate partner violence usually are urgent threats to health and safety.

It is important for the PNP to evaluate the social needs of families, have knowledge about available resources, offer resources through referral, and provide assistance with coordination of bureaucratic, language, and transportation barriers.

Some social needs to consider include:

Adult Education
After School Programs
Child Care
Clothing
Diapers
Food
Fuel/Utilities
Health Insurance
Housing Availability and Conditions
Income Assistance
Job Search/Training
Medication Assistance
Personal Safety
Social Support

References and Resources:

Community Services Locator - An online directory for finding community services for children and families:  http://www.mchlibrary.info/KnowledgePaths/kp_community.html

Health Leads:  http://healthleadsusa.org/

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Vulnerable Populations: http://www.rwjf.org/vulnerablepopulations/

World Health Organization:  http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/