What is Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC)?
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) helps adults help kids succeed. IECMHC is prevention-based strategy that teams a specially-trained mental health expert with adults working with infants and toddlers. The goal is to build provider skills to strengthen and support the healthy social and emotional development of children in their care, starting when the child is very young, hopefully before a child needs formal intervention services.
IECMHC providers work with parents and caregivers, Early Childhood Educators, pediatricians and family doctors, and many others. The aims of IECMHC are to increase adults' understanding of children's social emotional development, build healthy, strong relationships and supportive, safe environments where the child can learn and grow, and address other factors that can disrupt optimal child development: the impact of trauma and chronic toxic stress, the importance of attachment in young children, and the impact of caregiver mental health on child development.
This intervention is evidence-based, showing that adults know better how to support kids and that kids have better health and education outcomes. It is also very cost effective. IECMHC has been shown to improve children’s social skills and emotional functioning, promote healthy relationships, reduce challenging behaviors, reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions, improve classroom quality, and reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover.
To get more involved in advocating for IECMHC expansion and funding in Wisconsin, visit the Collective Impact Infant Toddler Team with the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health. You will find helpful fact sheets about IECMHC in different settings and who to contact to get involved.
For information at a national level, the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Zero to Three are great places to start!
If you have additional IECMHC resources to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.