Mental health in early childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities.
Head Start and Early Head Start embrace a vision of mental wellness. The objective of the mental health component of Child Inc. is to build collaborative relationships among children, families, staff, and professionals and the community, in order to enhance awareness and understanding of mental wellness and the contribution that mental health education and services can make to the wellness of all children and families.
Promoting mental health is a vital component of the work we do every day to enrich the lives of children and families at Child Inc. We know that to prepare children for school, we must support their social and emotional well-being. We also know that children’s parents and caregivers in the home and in the classroom benefit from resources that can support their own mental health and in turn, help support the children in their care.
The mental health team at Child Inc. works closely with staff and parents to meet the mental health needs of children and families. Individual and group education and consultation are available to parents, teachers, family advocates, and any other staff working with children. While prevention is primary to the delivery of mental health services, early identification and intervention is recognized as being of critical importance to children and families in crisis or in need of individual counseling. All children enrolled at Child Inc. receive a social/emotional screening to identify any possible need for services (skill building, behavior support, counseling services etc.). If more specific intervention is needed, with parent/guardian permission, individual observations and assessments are done by a licensed mental health professional.