Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

MSPCC is engaging everyone committed to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

Toxic stress from exposure to multiple or prolonged Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including physical and emotional abuse and neglect, household substance abuse, and household mental illness directly correlates to serious delays in development and to an alarming range of health and behavioral consequences that can continue throughout the child’s lifetime.

In Massachusetts, as many as 135,000 children from birth to age five face one or more risk factors each day that could lead to toxic stress, with as many as 20,000 (15 percent) facing three or more risk factors.

Improving access to infant and early childhood mental health services is a tremendous challenge and perhaps the most promising opportunity to positively change the mental health trajectory and life outcomes of children. The work is well underway. For the last three years, MSPCC, through the the Children’s Mental Health Campaign, has been convening public agencies, professional associations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders and content experts in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) to develop a shared understanding of best practices and barriers to implementation. We have a clear agenda and a growing base of support for improving IECMH policy and practice. In June of 2017, we hosted a summit on IECMH and have developed a set of action steps.

To date, we have led the successful advocacy effort to double state funding to support IECMH consultation services and for resources to improve collaboration between the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC).  We are also working with MassHealth to pilot clinical use of the DC-0-5, a developmentally appropriate diagnostic assessment tool for infants and toddlers, to establishing medical necessity and seek reimbursement. The pilot is expected to begin in the Spring of 2018.

Learn more from the Children’s Mental Health Campaign here.

 

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