Report on Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in the U.S.
Early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) is emerging as an effective strategy to help young children and their families increase social and emotional health while decreasing challenging behavior.
ZERO TO THREE’s Policy Center has released a new paper, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Policies and Practices to Foster the Social-Emotional Development of Young Children (January 2017). The paper provides an overview of early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC), current issues in the field, and possible future directions. It provides a snapshot of current programs across the nation and highlights challenges and innovations that are shaping the field. Some of the key findings of the report:
- Decreased problem behaviors, especially externalizing ones
- Decreased numbers of children expelled for behavior
- Greater gains in socialization, emotional competence, and communication
- Improved social skills and peer relationships
- Improved self-efficacy for staff
- Increased confidence working with children
- Reduction in teacher stress levels
- Increased teaching skills and communication with families
- Increased sensitivity when working with children
- Increased involvement with parents
- Reduced staff turnover
- Increased shared philosophy of mental health (when consultants were seen as a partner)
- Inconsistent findings on improved classroom environments