West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

Celebrating Infant Mental Health Week with Project LAUNCH

5/16/2016

​The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health today announced a community awareness celebration to be held May 16-21, 2016, in conjunction with Infant Mental Health Week. The week-long initiative, which includes a webinar series and festival, is led by the Bureau’s Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) and the West Virginia Infant/Toddler Mental Health Association. 

Project LAUNCH promotes the wellness of young children ages birth to eight by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of their development. Through collaboration with the West Virginia Infant/Toddler Mental Health Association, partners have been planning for Infant Mental Health Week as an opportunity to highlight and launch the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program.

PAT is an evidence-based home visiting program that supports a parent’s role in promoting school readiness and healthy development of children. The goal of PAT is to provide strength based support for families in providing the best opportunities for children to develop and be ready to learn.  The PAT house is located at 1419 1st Avenue on the West Side of Charleston to serve as the central location for families to meet for parenting groups and other services.

“The Bureau for Public Health has been actively engaged in LAUNCH to make this project a reality for the West Side of Charleston, to be modeled elsewhere in the state,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health.  “The program will provide a multifaceted approach with learning tools and resources for children and families to ensure children reach their developmental potential and are ready to succeed in school and life.” 

The following webinars will be held at the PAT house for early childhood educators starting Monday, May 16, 2016:
• Monday – Connecting the Importance of Father/Child Bonding with Good Infant Mental Health
• Tuesday – What is Infant Mental Health
• Wednesday – The Effects of Substance Abuse on the Entire Family
• Thursday – Reflective Supervision, Benefits and Strategies of Implementation
• Friday – Supporting Families During Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding

For information on the webinars, visit http://www.wvdhhr.org/mcfh/IMH_Week_Webinar_Schedule_May2016.pdf

The celebration concludes Saturday, May 21, 2016, with a Children’s Festival at Magic Island hosted by the City of Charleston that will include inflatables, multiple vendors, police, fire and emergency vehicles and activities.  Additionally, Project LAUNCH will have a Roll and Read program to promote early literacy and physical activity. Families will walk, bike, skate, push a stroller or pull a wagon over a mile-long course. 

Funding for Project LAUNCH was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and totals nearly $3,614,000 for five years.  Project LAUNCH is facilitated by BPH’s Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health.

Contact Information

Media contact: DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899

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