Advocates

Social and Emotional Health

Social-emotional health is foundational to academic achievement, lifelong health and success. It is formed through infants’ and toddlers’ strong, supportive relationships with their parents or caregivers and the experience of a safe, nurturing environment. As an advocate or policy maker you have unique potential to influence the systems that impact the earliest influences of social emotional health creating large scale change. Yet routinely we wait until a problem is recognized to intervene – and sometimes we fail to intervene at all. Docs for Tots recommends rethinking our policy and advocacy approach to early childhood social-emotional health and to family mental health. One in five children and adolescents may have a mental health problem. As many of six million young people may have a serious emotional disturbance. An estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need, in part due to a shortage of quality early childhood mental health service. Without treatment or prevention of infant and toddler mental health issues, children are at risk of learning and development problems, school failure, and lifelong struggles. The mental health of a child’s family matters to young children’s social emotional health. Undetected and untreated mental health problems in families and caregivers have negative effects on the social emotional well-being of children. Maternal depression affects an estimated 13% of postpartum women and directly impacts a woman’s ability to nurture her infant or toddler and impacts the overall quality of family life. There is growing evidence that mental health of fathers and other care-givers is as important to young children’s well-being.

As an advocate or policymaker you can:

  • Advocate for maternal/ caregiver depression screening
  • Support increased investments in children’s mental health services
  • Promote mental health consultation in early care and education
  • Promote evidence-based and innovative social-emotional health interventions
  • Advocate for co-location of mental health services in primary care settings
  • Develop and implement public awareness campaigns on social-emotional health
  • Engage doctors as public champions of your advocacy agenda by partnering with Docs for Tots

Priority Issues

Champions

Champion Spotlight: Denise Henderson

Our practice champions are the key to making sure screening initiatives are both successful and sustainable. This week, we are highlighting one of our champions, Denise Henderson. Denise works is an RN at the Long Island FQHC’s Roosevelt Family

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Investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later.

James Heckman, economist, Nobel laureate