Centerstone, one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit behavioral healthcare providers, is among 19 agencies in Rutherford and Cannon Counties participating in the sixth annual “19 Days of Activism for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children and Youth.” This worldwide awareness event is held November 1-19 each year and sponsored by the Women’s World Summit Foundation. It presents an opportunity for like-minded organizations in local communities to collaborate on spreading the word about key abuse/violence issues and helping create a world fit for children.
The main awareness theme for the 19 Days campaign in 2016 is malnutrition, a serious concern in many places worldwide.
Centerstone helps all ages through its rich continuum of behavioral health services, including families with children in the prenatal through preschool age range. Breastfeeding support in the home, an effective way to combat malnutrition in children and promote better health in general, is one of many services in which Centerstone specializes in Middle Tennessee.
E.Ann Ingram, program manager for Centerstone Early Childhood Services, said, “For nearly all infants, breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition and immunologic protection. Research suggests breastfed babies have lower risks of asthma, childhood obesity, ear infection, respiratory infections, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome. For mothers in need, there are services to assist with successful breastfeeding. They include lactation consultation, linkage to resources for obtaining breast pumps and support for common challenges like how to breastfeed in public or at work.”
Leading health organizations recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed without other foods or liquids—even water—for the first six months and to continue breastfeeding for at least 12 months. Studies also show the risk of breast and ovarian cancer is decreased in moms who breastfeed.
Data indicates 83 percent of the families enrolled in Centerstone’s Early Childhood Services have reported feeding breast milk to their babies at six months of age, more than double the statewide rate for Tennessee (40.7 percent). Home visiting services are critical tools in helping parents raise healthy, happy kids. Expanding such services to even more counties and communities would be a wise investment in children.
Centerstone Early Childhood Services offers a dynamic range of support in care coordination, specialized services, family attachment, child development, education and resource linkage.