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The Importance of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

by Mary Margaret Gleason and Allison Boothe Trigg
September/October 2020
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-importance-of-infant-and-early-childhood-mental-health/5025582/

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Infant and early childhood mental healthto the uninitiated, this phrase often conjures up thoughts of a 12-month-old baby on a therapy couch, being asked to “tell me about your childhood.” However, for those of us working with babies and young children, infant and early childhood mental health is a concept paramount to understanding and supporting infants and young children as they develop, learn, and grow across the social, emotional and behavioral health domains. The mental health of our youngest citizens encompasses these areas of growth, as well as the relationships they build with their caregivers as their brains rapidly develop across the first five years of life. 

When I think about young children’s mental health, I am often reminded of a question I was asked by a fellow passenger on a plane. I was preparing to give a presentation about young children and posttraumatic stress disorder and was reading a book about PTSD in preschoolers. The woman sitting next to me read the title and asked, “Can preschoolers really have PTSD?”

I could see the concern in her eyes as I briefly discussed PTSD and how it can ...

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