Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation 

Since 2021, Healthy Child Care Colorado has served as Colorado’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Network Hub. We work on the local, state, and national levels to strengthen awareness and support for this unique and critical role. 

What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation? 

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) is a prevention-based approach that pairs a mental health consultant with adults who work with infants and young children in the different settings where they learn and grow, such as child care, preschool, home visiting, early intervention and their home.

Mental health consultation is not about “fixing kids.” Nor is it therapy. Mental health consultation equips caregivers to facilitate children’s healthy social and emotional development. 

ECMHC 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
  • Reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover.  

What do Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants do? 

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (ECMHCs) develop relationships with the adults and caregivers in young children’s lives to build adults’ capacity and skills to strengthen and support the healthy social and emotional development of children. 

  • Work to support strong relationships and supportive environments for children 
  • Focus on building the capacity of the adults in children’s lives to understand young children’s social emotional development 
  • Are highly trained licensed or license-eligible professionals with specialized knowledge in childhood development, the effects of stress and trauma on families, the importance of attachment for young children, and the impacts of adult mental health on developing children 
  • Use a strengths-based approach and consider all levels of influence to support young children and their caregivers 

Colorado’s ECMHC Network Hub 

Thanks to support from the Buell Foundationand the Caring for Colorado Foundationwe are expanding our efforts centered on early childhood social and emotional well-being and mental health, with the development of a statewide network hub.  

 

History 

The ECMHC Network Hub is being built upon a strong foundation of work done throughout our state and nationally. If you are interested in learning more, please look at these resources. 

Partnerships 

The ECMHC Network Hub is being developed in partnership with the Office of Early Childhood as well as an Advisory Team. We will co-create the ECMHC Network Hub by utilizing existing resources, collecting input from the field, and by collaborating with the Advisory Team to develop key elements.  

We hosted a webinar in September 2021 to share more information about the process we are utilizing to develop the Network Hub’s guiding principles, core functions, intended outcomes, action plan, leadership structure, and more. Watch the recording to learn more.

Advisory Team Members

 

Dr. Sarah Davidon – Davidon Consulting & Georgetown Center of Excellence                    

Ty Johnson, M.Ed. – Early Learning Ventures                                                                

Sherri Valdez, MA – Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley                                    

Heidi Baskfield, JD – Children’s Hospital Colorado & Partners for Children’s Mental Health 

Kelly Etter, PhD – The Policy Equity Group 

Jennifer Sommer-Sheppard, LCSW – Aurora Mental Health 

Kyle Ohl, MA, LPC, IMH-E® Specialist – Grand Beginnings 

Tanya Weinberg – Early Milestones 

Joseph Ziegler – La Familia 

Alison Hargarten – Office of Early Childhood 

Heather Craiglow – Office of Early Childhood         

Lisa Schlueter, PhD – Office of Early Childhood 

Theresa Rapstine, MS RN – Healthy Child Care Colorado 

Maegan Lokteff, PhD – Early Childhood Council Leadership Association 

Jasmine Crane – Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence