In line with IREE’s mission of creating inclusive environments and ensuring equity and social justice at all levels of society, the Health and Well Being team aims to utilize IREE’s culturally responsive and community-based model in their efforts to increase equity in access to health and wellness programs, especially starting with the young children and families in Colorado. With a strong commitment to evidence-based best practices, IREE’s Health and Well Being team offers myriad services that increase equitable access to mental health care with the broader goal of promoting social justice and equity through increasing and promoting the well-being of Colorado’s families—especially those that have been historically marginalized and/or underserved, with a focus on BIPOC and families struggling with poverty, mental illness and systemic injustice.
Focusing on culturally responsive practices that are centered in issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). IREE’s Health & Well Being team offers Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) services. While we focus our direct services to serving those living and working in Arapahoe County, we utilize nearly 50 percent of our time offering EDI We consultation, training and other supports to the entire ECMHC staff in the state of Colorado.
What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC)?
ECMHC is a prevention-based approach that pairs a mental health professional with adults who work with young children across any setting where infants and young children learn, grow and play. This includes but is not limited to childcare, preschool, home visiting, early intervention, family homes and provider homes. ECMHC is not about “fixing” children or families, and it is also not mental health therapy. The role of the early childhood mental health consultant is to help bolster and equip caregivers with the capacity to best facilitate children’s healthy and optimal social and emotional development.
Early childhood is an especially important time in human development. Children’s brains, their capacity for learning and implementing new and essential skills develop rapidly in those first few years of life. Their social and emotional skills are constantly advancing as young children acquire the ability to:
- Experience, regulate and express a range of emotions.
- Develop close, satisfying relationships with other children and adults.
- Actively explore their environments and learn, especially through play.
Early development of social and emotional skills is the foundation for literacy, numeracy and other cognitive skills essential for school readiness and future life success. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “Increasingly, legislation to enhance social and emotional well-being in early learners is seen as a crucial component to promoting success in school.”
- 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 quality of early learning environments
- Reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover.
We at IREE know that exclusionary discipline disproportionately impacts children and families of color and those living in poverty. We also know that suspensions and expulsions at the early childhood level can disrupt school readiness and contributes to the preschool to prison pipeline. As such our ECMHC team is dedicated to dismantling these oppressions at every level. We are dedicated to supporting equitable environments through our culturally responsive and community-based ECMHC services. If you would like to learn more about IREE’s ECMHC services, please contact Jasmine Crane at jasmine@IREEinc.com or contact Colorado State’s ECMHC referral hotline by clicking this link.