NEW YORK CITY EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH STRATEGIC WORKGROUP ISSUES A CALL TO ACTION FOR NEW YORK’S INFANTS, TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS

A leading group of experts has just released a detailed White Paper that calls on public systems in New York City and State to take new actions to address the mental health needs of children before they start school – a time when early intervention and prevention can have powerful effects on how very young children develop. According to the New York City Early Childhood Strategic Work Group, the group that issued the While Paper, a growing body of research makes it clear that mental health problems in many infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are both more prevalent than commonly thought and very often go untreated: Research indicates that as many as 14 percent of U.S. children ages 0-5 experience social-emotional problems that negatively affect their functioning, development and school readiness.

“High-quality early interventions to promote young children’s mental health are a financially sound long-term investment for New York City and State,” said Evelyn J. Blanck, LCSW, Chair, New York City Early Childhood Mental Health Strategic Work Group and Associate Executive Director of New York Center for Child Development. “Increasingly research has demonstrated that the quality of early childhood relationships shape the architecture of the brain and have significant impact on the ability of young children to learn, on school readiness, on their sensory processing and self-control, and on their ability to form relationships.”

A Call to Action offers a thoughtful blueprint for how government policy should change to address the mental health needs of children five years of age and younger. The white papers provides extensive evidence, based on the latest neuroscience, to emphasize that attending to mental health needs is as important as addressing infants’ and toddlers’ physical needs,” said Priscilla Lincoln, PMHNP, PhD, co-president New York Zero-to-Three Network.

“This report offers providers and policy makers alike the opportunity to understand early childhood mental health needs and identifies solutions to address these needs,” said New York City Council Member G. Oliver Koppell, Chair of NYC Council Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services Committee.

Updating a 2005 report that had a positive impact on the way New York City and State address mental health issues for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, Promoting the Mental Health and Healthy Development of New York’s Infants Toddlers and Preschoolers: Advancing the Agenda, Sustaining the Gains: A Call to Action recommends concrete steps that public systems serving children and families in New York City and State can take to help promote the mental health of young children, increasing the likelihood that they enter school ready to learn and with the social-emotional skills they need to start moving toward productive adulthoods.

Download the PDF: Promoting the Mental Health and Healthy Development of New York’s Infants Toddlers and Preschoolers: Advancing the Agenda, Sustaining the Gains: A Call to Action.



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