May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we’ve compiled information and resources that highlight both adult, infant, and early childhood mental health. It is never too early to build good habits, find support, or address questions. It is also essential for parents and providers to take care of their own needs and well-being! We’ve pulled together events and online opportunities available to help you understand and navigate the needs of your family or classroom.
What does mental health mean for young children?
An excellent article from the NAEYC explores what mental health means for young children in the home and in the classroom. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) is centered on the ability of a child between the ages of zero to five to form strong attachments to adults and peers, understand and convey emotions, and explore and learn from their environments.
IECMH helps adults understand:
- How circumstances affect babies’ and toddlers’ social and emotional well-being
- Indicators in very young children’s behavior that let us know they are struggling
- Supports and interventions that protect babies’ and toddlers’ mental health during stressful times and that restore their social and emotional well-being
Practices for home and classroom
- Focus on joy. Do something that brings smiles and laughter. Endorphins are an effective counter to stress.
- Do a wellness check. Connect with coworkers or friends and honestly share how you’re really feeling.
- Practice graciousness. Most everyone is feeling the strain and struggles of the last year, extend patience and kindness as possible.
- It is always ok to ask for help. What is your mental health plan for yourself, family, and those in your program? Identify a personal and professional support system.
Read the full article “Rocking and Rolling. Caring for the Mental Health of Infants and Toddlers” on the NAEYC website.
Check out these upcoming events!
The California Alliance of Child and Family Services and the Catalyst Center present the Live@5 on Aces and Mental Health Awareness event happening on Tuesday, May 18th. Hear from experts about the perils of toxic stress and the California Surgeon General’s plan to cut it and ACE’s in half in one generation. Click here to register today.
Learn more about ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, at numberstory.org.
First 5 Mental Health Awareness Webinar, “Maxed out on togetherness! Re-energizing the parent-child connection” will take place Thursday, May 20 from 9:00am to noon. Dr. Rishi Parikh and Dr. Wendy Lee will be discussing mental health, children and families. This special event is for parents, community members, teachers, child care providers and students.
More Information and Support
Check out Tips for parents of children with anxiety about return to in-person learning from QSSB partner Child Care Resource Center.
Help Me Grow Inland Empire connects parents and caregivers to screening and early intervention services to help with developmental delays. They also offer resources families need to help their children grow up safe and healthy.
Connect IE is a searchable database of available resources like food, supplies, rent help and more. You can enter the term “mental health” into the search box along with your zip code for services near you.