Children are at an even higher risk from environmental factors (social determinants of health) because they are completely reliant on others. Experiencing challenges with one or two social determinants will not necessarily have an influence on family and child health, however, as the number of determinants negatively impacting a family increases, the risks also increase.
Stress refers to our biological and emotional responses to situations that are new, dangerous or a threat to our well-being. Stress is not always a bad thing. In fact, we experience stress everyday and this can be healthy as it teaches us how to adapt, cope, problem solve, regulate our emotions and seek support when needed.
The early years (0-6 years) are a critical period for brain development. There is rapid growth and development of the brain during early childhood. In fact, by four years of age, a child’s brain is already 90% of the size of an adult’s brain and the brain has mapped out the way it will communicate with its different parts and the body. During these early years, there is the most opportunity to impact brain development. This is also a time when the brain is the most vulnerable.
Certain medications, as well as alcohol and most illicit drugs, can be passed to the baby through breast milk. If a woman is taking medication, she should discuss her intake with her healthcare professional. Drugs and alcohol should be avoided throughout pregnancy and lactation.
The Saskatchewan Early Childhood Mental Health Provincial Network provides an opportunity for professionals interested and/or working in the area of early childhood mental health to network, share information about current services, collaborate, and keep up-to-date with current research.