Mental health is often associated with the social and psychological well-being of adults. Ruth Ortiz specializes in mental health that reaches a different population—infants. Ortiz is the President of the New Mexico Association for Infant Mental Health (NMAIMH). The organization has been an established 501 (c) (3) nonprofit since 2016 and is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. New Mexico is one of 29 states affiliated with the World Association of Infant Mental Health.
NMAIMH is making significant strides in getting southern New Mexico involvement. “I started as a board member in 2012. This is the first year that we have more board members in the southern region (of the state),” said Ortiz. In previous years, northern New Mexico had a larger representation on the NMAIMH board. In response to the inclusion of southern perspectives, the organization is planning to conduct trainings for infant mental health endorsements in Ruidoso, Roswell, and Hobbs, this fall.
The organization would like to expand its trainings in New Mexico to those who lack, what NMAIMH calls reflective supervision. This is a distinctive competency-based professional development for staff who work with the infant and toddler population, ages 0-3. Ortiz ensures a sense of essential training saying, “Our main message is to educate those who work with infants and toddlers on the eight-core early childhood education competencies, so they can provide quality services and have nurturing relationships, by seeing through the eyes of a child.”
Since the beginning of this year, NMAIMH has conducted ten trainings for childcare providers across the state. The vision for the organization is to incorporate the specialized trainings within the New Mexico Public Education Department for all childcare providers. For more information on NMAIMH trainings and membership, visit www.nmaimh.org.