New Tools to Promote Young Children’s Mental Health in Early Childhood Programs

A new Toolbox offers free interactive planning tools, guides, videos, and other resources to help adults who work with young children (from infants through transition to kindergarten) incorporate early childhood mental health consultation into early childhood programs.

Early childhood mental health consultation puts experts in early childhood mental health into classrooms and other settings to:

  • Increase early educators’ understanding of and increase their ability to support young children’s social-emotional health and development
  • Partner with families to provide information, training or other resources on social-emotional health, either for all families or to address individual children’s needs

Click here to read more about early childhood mental health consultation.

Research shows that these consultation services can:

  • Improve children’s social skills and emotional functioning
  • Promote healthy relationships
  • Reduce challenging behaviors and preschool expulsions
  • Improve classroom quality
  • Reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover

Home visitors and others with access to mental health consultants are more knowledgeable about infant and young children’s emotional and behavioral needs.

North Carolina’s Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative highlights several measures in its Measures of Success Framework that are impacted by early childhood mental health consultation, including:

  • Early educators have child development-specific knowledge and competencies
  • Positive school climates
  • Children’s social-emotional health

These factors, from birth through age eight, support children reading on grade-level by the end of third grade.

The new toolbox is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. The Center of Excellence helps states, tribes, and communities use infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) to promote the mental health and school readiness of young children. Visit to access the Toolbox.