INFANT AND EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH (IECMH)
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) is the developing capacity from birth to 6 to experience, regulate, and express emotions; to form close relationships; and to explore the environment and learn, all in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for young children.
Children need caregivers to nurture their social and emotional health so they can build necessary life skills. Social and emotional health—the ability to form strong relationships, solve problems, and express and manage emotions—is critical for school readiness and lifelong success. Without it, young children are more likely to:
- Have difficulty managing emotions
- Have trouble making friends and getting along with others
- Experience emotional or behavioral difficulties and can engage in harmful behaviors such as aggression and bullying—behaviors that are labelled challenging at their childcare that often lead to difficulty with learning, suspension or expulsion, and later school dropout.
IECMH is critical to ensuring children have the tools and supports to grow up well. Our work stems from our ongoing commitment to have IECMH as a core component in systems supporting young children and families, including Early Education & Care (EEC), Early Intervention, pediatrics, family support, and behavioral health. We work closely with the Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health (MassAIMH) to achieve these goals.
Interested in joining our Campaign IECMH workgroup meetings? Every other month, we convene public and private entities to discuss issues pertaining to IECMH with an emphasis on breaking down silos and making sure everyone is up to date on our collective work. We meet every other month 9:30-11am via Zoom.
Contact us to learn more.
Check out our bi-monthly IECMH newsletter, created in partnership with MSPCC, MassAIMH, and MassDMH. Click here to sign up!