Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health

About Early Childhood Mental Health at the South Southwest MHTTC

The field of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) has emerged from the understanding that early childhood presents a crucial opportunity to promote cognitive, social, and emotional well-being while preventing or addressing mental health issues. IECMH encompasses the development of children from birth to 5 years old, emphasizing their ability to form secure relationships, manage emotions, explore their environment, and learn within the context of their family, community, and culture.

During early childhood, the brain undergoes significant development, laying the foundation for cognitive, social, and emotional growth throughout a child's life. The quality of caregiving relationships plays a pivotal role in the development of infants and young children. However, certain risk factors, such as prematurity, low birth weight, genetic disorders, substance exposure, violence, abuse, chronic stress, and adversity, can negatively impact these relationships and hinder children's social and emotional well-being.

Many mental health professionals lack exposure to IECMH and the specific skills required to identify mental health challenges in young children. They may also struggle with assessing the various biological, environmental, and developmental factors involved, developing and implementing evidence-based treatment plans, and collaborating effectively with early childhood systems. Unfortunately, intervention often occurs only after mental health problems have worsened, despite research demonstrating the effectiveness of early intervention.

To address these gaps, the South Southwest MHTTC is actively working on developing resources and tools to support professionals working with young children. This includes the creation of online learning modules designed to enhance the skills of licensed mental health providers who wish to work with young children and their families.

Additionally, the MHTTC is assisting early childhood caregivers in utilizing evidence-based screening tools to identify social-emotional challenges. They have also established a learning collaborative to introduce the Incredible Years parenting program into the public mental health system. Furthermore, the MHTTC is collaborating with stakeholders in Texas to develop a consensus-based definition and core competencies for early childhood mental health consultation, which will serve as a foundation for additional training resources.

Through these initiatives, the South Southwest MHTTC aims to equip professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to support the mental health needs of young children effectively. By promoting early identification and intervention, they strive to improve outcomes for children and families, ensuring that mental health challenges are addressed in a timely and comprehensive manner.


More coming soon

Past Events

  • October 19, 2023 An Introduction to the Ages and Stages Questionnaires ASQ-3 & ASQ:SE-2
  • August 9, 2023 An Introduction to the ASQ-3(TM) & ASQ:SE-2(TM)
  • July 19, 2023 An Introduction to the ASQ-3(TM) & ASQ:SE-2(TM)
  • June 14, 2023 An Introduction to the ASQ-3(TM) & ASQ:SE-2(TM)
  • May 10, 2023 An Introduction to the ASQ-3(TM) & ASQ:SE-2(TM)
  • February 13, 2023 The ASQ®-3 & ASQ®:SE-2 Training of Trainers
  • August 2022 DC:0-5 Clinical Training of Trainers
  • June 2022 An Introduction to the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3, ASQ:SE-2)
  • May 2022 EBP training series: “The Incredible Years – School Age”
  • January 2022 DC:0-5 Clinical Training
  • July 2021 Incredible Years Refresher Training
  • May 2021 Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • April 2021 Reflective Supervision Training Series
  • March 2021 Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Sept. 2019 -Aug 2020 quarterly Incredible Years Community of Learners

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Resources for Early Childhood Education

This product provides resources available to support early childhood educators in their quest to foster and enhance the social-emotional development of children in early childhood education settings. Early childhood educators spend a significant amount of time with children and have opportunities to observe daily behavior and identify and respond to mental health issues. These resources can be used for professional development training, learning collaboratives, or individual personal growth.
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