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Early Childhood Mental Health

What is the issue?

The first six years are critical to growth, development, and mental health across the lifespan. Promoting mental health and healthy relationships early on can help to improve well-being later in life.

What do we mean by early childhood mental health?

Infant and early childhood mental health, sometimes referred to as social and emotional development, is the developing capacity of the child from birth to five years to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, manage, and express a full range of emotions; and explore the environment and learn — all in the context of family, community, and culture.

Yet, the availability, accessibility, and funding for programs that support mental health of young children and their caregivers is limited across Canada.  That’s why a more coordinated approach is needed.

What are we doing?

We are supporting activities and conversations to facilitate a more coordinated, supportive environment that fosters positive development, mental health, and resiliency across the lifespan.

Our activities include:

  • Consulting with caregivers and persons who work with young children and families
  • Identifying major challenges and opportunities in services, policies, programs and environments that support infants, young children and their caregivers
  • Identifying national priorities in early childhood mental health
  • Supporting and spreading best practices and programs for early childhood mental health

Learn more about the importance of supporting early childhood mental health with the following resources: