Healthy, nurturing relationships with parents and caregivers lay the foundation for a baby’s social and emotional development, also known as infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). IECMH is at the heart of the full range of Think Babies policy priorities, all of which support the resilience of families and communities and the social and emotional development of babies and toddlers.
Make no mistake: mental health issues can take root very early in life. Infants and young children can have diagnosable and treatable mental health disorders. Policies and programs that fall along a promotion, prevention, and treatment continuum provide parents and young children with support for social and emotional development and prevent and treat mental health issues as early as possible. Investments that support the mental health of infants and young children prevent the more costly interventions that all too often result when mental health challenges go unaddressed.