Voices’ Blog

Early Childhood Mental Health: What’s Going on in Virginia?

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

Quite a bit! For the last several years, professionals in Virginia who care about early childhood development have been working together to build a system that trains those who work with infants and toddlers and their parents to address the social and emotional development of young children. Three state agencies have now combined funding to support a full-time coordinator of Virginia’s Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative; Bonnie Grifa was started in this position in February 2012 and is housed at VCU’s Partnership for People with Disabilities. Bonnie brings a wealth of experience and passion to this initiative, and you can reach her at bgrifa@vcu.edu.

Read all about the exciting new developments in this newsletter — ECMH Update May 2012 — including the activities of the Virginia Association of Infant Mental Health, the new Infant Mental Health Competency and Endorsement System, and the Pyramid Model.

What is early childhood mental health anyway?

Zero to Three describes it this way: “Early childhood mental health is synonymous with general health and well-being and healthy social, emotional, and behavioral development. It is affected by a child’s biological predisposition, the child’s environment, including access to adequate food, clothing, and safe shelter, and the continuity of nurturing relationships.”

We know that children who develop mental health challenges often show signs of problems very early in life. Early intervention by trained professionals can be the key to better functioning for children. The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health wants children to have access to the services and interventions they need as soon as possible, and we are supportive of the efforts of the early childhood mental health community in Virginia.

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