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VAIMH Monthly Newsletter (1.9.2024)

Happy New Year, VAIMH Members!

I want to welcome you to a new chapter of VAIMH with some exciting endeavors on the horizon. We look forward to expanding the important work you all do across the state as it relates to social-emotional development for our youngest, most vulnerable citizens. As part of these endeavors and in efforts to build community, you will receive a monthly newsletter with upcoming news and trainings, a member spotlight, science center, and self-care activities. I am thrilled to be working with you this year.

-Dr. Anjali Ferguson

Executive Director


VAIMH Advocacy Day - 1/12/2024

We are excited to hold our first Advocacy Day on January 12, 2024. VAIMH Members will be meeting with our state legislators to advocate for policies considerate of infant and early childhood mental health needs across the state. Join us for breakfast at 7:30am on 1/12/24 to support our team of advocates before their big day. Follow the link for more information on where breakfast will be held, along with additional information on our advocacy day priorities.


Member Spotlight: How are You Using Your Endorsement?

Jessica C. Brickey, LCSW, IECMH-E ®

Mrs. Brickey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Central Virginia, who primarily focuses her clinical work on young children and their families, 1 year old and up. Currently she is a contract provider for the outpatient therapy practice, Partners in Parenting and with the Infant and Toddler Connection of Henrico area. Her background is working with children with special needs in their home and in school or recreational settings. Jessica is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Specialist and Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor-Clinical. She provides reflective supervision virtually for those professionals seeking initial or renewal of an endorsement in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health throughout Virginia, both in groups and individually. Last but not least, her most important and favorite role is being a mother to her 3 1/2 year old daughter, Tessa, who allows space for Jessica to practice her knowledge and skills in IECMH. She finds it is definitely different when it is in your own home!

"When I became licensed in social work, I switched roles in early intervention, from a service coordinator to a social worker. At first, I felt isolated being one of the first providers of social work and working in a mental health capacity while being under the developmental disabilities umbrella. When I found out about the endorsement, I felt this was an answer to help me feel connected to others in this work. From the first moment we met, I realized I had found "my tribe" and those that spoke the same language as me. My ongoing journey of providing reflective supervision and facilitating Broadening the Lens fulfills the passion I have for sharing the knowledge of IECMH and connecting like-minded individuals."


Science Spotlight

Reconceiving the field: Infant mental health, intersectionality, and reproductive justice

"Intersectionality theory is a useful system for analyzing knowledge-production projects that the field of infant mental health engages in that may be inadvertent, but have significant and often harmful effects."

The Next Generation of Parents

How Gen Z is Creating Its Own Parenting Timeline and Outlook.


Self-Care Through Play

Time for us to practice what we preach! It is easy to ignore our own needs in the context of busy lives, work, and our own parenting demands. We can't pour from an empty cup, so here are some ways to tap into our inner child this month as a way to take care of ourselves while we tackle this necessary and challenging work.

January Tip: Get Nostalgic

January is a time we often engage in reflection, so why not reflect on toys and games you played during your childhood and create your own "toy box". Maybe you loved art, playing board games, or playing with a certain toy. Was there a toy/game you always wanted as a child? Consider investing in some small items to store away for yourself that you can engage with throughout the month to bring yourself some joy. You may even be inclined to share these toys with your own children to build memories and extend self-care into domains of relational care. A recent favorite of mine has been sharing the game "Guess Who" with my own child. The process brings back nostalgic memories of game nights with my sibling and new shared moments of joy with my own child.

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