The Ohio Model of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMH-C) teams mental health professionals with those who work with young children and their families to improve their social-emotional and behavioral health and development. IECMH-C builds the capacity of providers and families to understand the powerful influence of their relationships and interactions on young children’s development. Children’s well-being is improved and mental problems are prevented or reduced.
IECMH-C includes skilled observations, adaptive strategies, and early identification of mental health challenges. The Ohio Model of IECMH also includes strengthening of the teacher-family relationship and connecting young children, teachers, and families to additional mental or behavioral health services. The amount of time a consultant spends with a program/teacher varies based on need. Research shows IECMH-C is effective in increasing children’s social skills, reducing children’s challenging behavior, preventing preschool suspensions and expulsions, improving child-adult relationships, and identifying child concerns early, so that children get the support they need as soon as possible. In addition, IECMH-C reduces teacher stress, burnout, and turnover.
Healthy social and emotional development plays a key role in a child’s ability to enter kindergarten ready to learn. In order to succeed, a child needs to function within group settings, interact positively with peers and adults, control impulses, exhibit self-confidence and be willing to take risks in learning new and often challenging tasks. IECMH-C helps early care and learning providers and families meet the social, emotional and developmental needs of young children by building protective factors with a culturally sensitive, strength-based approach.