IMH101 - Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 12:14:25.529
Last review date 2018-07-20 12:15:11.912

Subject Title
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Subject Description
This is an introductory course examining how the research and practice of infant and early mental health has evolved.  Throughout the course, students will explore the factors that promote and derail early mental health and the connection between early mental health and later mental and physical health outcomes. They will begin to explore what it means to support young children and families for positive mental health.  Students will explore the history and evolution of the mental health system in Canada, gaining a focus on contemporary mental health and illness in Canada with an understanding of the difference between infant and early mental health and later mental and physical health outcomes.  A global perspective will be embedded into all discussions.

Credit Status
IMH 101 is a process course.  Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of face to face classes in order to be eligible to earn a passing grade.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze social, political, biological and environmental factors that impact mental health in infancy.
  2. Explain the role of primary relationships and the social/physical environment in the development of good mental health in the early years.
  3. Determine the importance of rapport and engagement with families and young children in a therapeutic setting.
  4. Examine key documents on best practice, guidelines and core competencies in the practice of early childhood mental health.
  5. Analyze personal biases and their influences on one’s professional practice when working with families.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Topic Outline

  • An introduction to infant mental health
    • What is it
    • Myths and misconceptions
    • Our own image of the child
    • Definitions of mental health
    • Laws and policies that intersect with infant mental health
  • How early experiences effect long term mental health
    • The effects of trauma and stress – an introduction
    • Mental health risk factors for infants and families
    • Why early intervention is essential
  • The role of an infant mental health advocate
    • Developing rapport with infants, families and other professionals
    • Building empathetic understanding within ourselves
    • Ways to reduce stigma on the child and family

Mode of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Small Group Work
  • Video, Group Presentation
  • Article Review
  • Case Study

Prescribed Texts
Janko Summers, Susan and Chazen-Cohen, Rachel. (2012). Understanding Early Childhood Mental Health: a practical guide for professionals. Brookes Publishing.

Zeanah, Charles. (2012). Handbook of Infant Mental Health. 3rd edition. Guildford Press.

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Article Review (30%)
Presentation with written component (40%)
Final Exam (30%)

Approved by: Sandra Noble