What is ECMH?
Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) is the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of children birth through five years and their families that promotes a young child’s ability to:
• Experience, regulate and express emotions
• Form close secure relationships, and
• Explore the environment and learn
The primary goals of Early Childhood Mental Health are: Prevention and Intervention.
Harbor provides Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment (ECMH-T) and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMH-C).
Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment (ECMH-T)
This program will provide individual, family and group outpatient therapy to children ages 2-7 years and their families. Our ECMH-T therapists have been trained in the following evidenced based treatment modalities: Parent Child Interaction Therapy-Adapted (PCIT-A) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and other evidence-based modalities to increase the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of those they serve.
Our ECMH therapists are specifically trained in the early childhood field and work towards Ohio’s Department of Mental Health Early Childhood Mental Health Core Competency Standards. Each ECMH-T therapist must have a master’s degree in social work, counseling or a related field as well as a current Ohio License in counseling or social work.
ECMH Therapists work with both the parent(s)/caregivers and child in helping the child obtain the desired social and emotional well being and recovery through our management of the issues that may be preventing the child from reaching his or her potential. Young children can and do benefit from counseling. Parent(s)/caregiver(s) may learn advanced skills to help better manage their child’s challenging behaviors when other approaches may not have been successful. Families are considered to be full participants in the treatment of their young children.
Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment (ECMH-T) can address concerns in young children including, but not limited to:
||Trouble following directions
|Abuse and Neglect
||Exposure to violence
||Sad, depressed mood
||Grief and Loss
||Trouble getting along with others
Additional services include:
• Psychological Testing
• Developmental & Behavioral Pediatric Services
• Psychiatric Services
• Medicaid Health Home Services
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMH-C)
ECMH-C includes culturally sensitive and primarily indirect services for children birth through five in group care and early education settings. Services include capacity building for staff and family members, directly observing children and the caregiving environment, and designing interventions that involve changes in the behaviors of caregivers. Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants collaborate with administrators, staff, family members, and caregivers who intervene directly with children in group care and early education settings.
ECMH-C is intended to promote social and emotional development in children and transform children’s challenging behaviors. Outcomes may be measured by the impact on children, parents, staff and programs. Consultation is offered by persons with formal preparation in children’s mental health and experience working with young children and their families.
Harbor’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation services include assessments of your infant, toddler or preschooler’s behavior within a childcare or preschool setting. Consultants observe how the child interacts with teachers and other children as well as their participation in daily childcare activities. ECMH Consultation does not provide formal mental health diagnoses but rather provides a functional analysis of the behaviors with recommended strategies to parent and teachers to help manage the behaviors or concerns. Consultants can refer to community resources, as deemed appropriate. Our consultation services include child/family centered consultation and programmatic consultation.
The consultants are trained to use two evidenced based programs: Georgetown Model of Early Childhood Consultation and the DECA, a social emotional assessment tool and classroom program. Our consultants have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in early childhood or mental health field. They must have experience in both early childhood and mental health. They provide social, emotional trainings to early care and education staff, conduct parent consultation meetings and conduct social emotional groups with the children.
Reasons to Request Consultation:
Individual children displaying hard-to-manage challenging behaviors
Young child is at-risk of being removed from preschool or early care center
Concerns of a young child’s social, emotional, physical development
Promoting healthy social & emotional development for young children
Supporting families and early child care providers’ capacity to meet children’s social/emotional needs and learn to manage challenging behaviors.
Desire to learn how to access mental health resources
Child or Family-Centered Consultation
The primary goal of child or family-centered consultation is to address the factors that contribute to an individual child’s (and/or family’s) difficulties in functioning well in his or her early care and education setting. This type of early childhood mental health consultation is typically provided to the child’s teacher(s) and parents and is focused on helping these adults support the child more effectively.
Programmatic Consultation focuses on improving the overall quality of the program or assisting the program to solve a specific issue that affects more than one child, staff member, and/or family. This type of consultation is usually provided to Early Care and Education (ECE) program administrators and staff and is intended to have a more widespread impact. Programmatic Consultation trains teachers on practices that promote social and emotional well being and school readiness skills and build teachers’ capacity in managing challenging behaviors within the classroom. Centers collaborate with the consultants throughout the year and consultants provide services weekly.
Examples of Programmatic Consultation services for staff:
• Conduct classroom observations
• Evaluate the center or learning environment
• Suggest strategies for making the environment prosocial
• Support staff with classroom management
• Train staff on behavior management techniques
• Train staff on accessing mental health resources
• Educate staff on children’s mental health issues
• Support staff working with children with challenging behaviors
Provide support for reflective practices
Examples of Programmatic Consultation services for programs:
• Promote staff wellness
• Address communication within the program
• Promote team building
• Provide staff support
• Participate in staff meetings
• Train staff on cultural competence
• Address programmatic issues
• Design and implement early childhood mental health best practices within the program
• Consult with the director
• Identify and address program needs
• Advise on program policy
Early Care and Education Teacher Trainings
Teachers learn to integrate social and emotional development and how to manage challenging behavior in their care of young children by utilizing methods of teaching using videos, role-playing, lecture/PowerPoint, discussion and sharing among group members. Some trainings are Ohio’s Step Up to Quality approved.
Parent Education Workshops
A variety of parent workshops can be offered to parents of children receiving care at an early care and education center. We have a variety of topics on children’s social and emotional development that are available.