New Program to Support Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

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Mecklenburg County Public Health’s Children’s Developmental Services Agency has a new program to help infants and toddlers and their families with mental health needs. With funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Mecklenburg County will offer to the birth-to-three population free mental health services in reducing the impact of traumatic events, learning to deal with challenging behaviors and coping with the ongoing stress of displacement, illness or loss.

“We are proud to provide this service to County residents. We believe this program fills a gap in accessible infant and early childhood mental health services,” said Shannon Winsjansen, Mecklenburg County Public Health program manager.

Some examples of how the program can help: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed with being a new parent

  • Helping build a strong relationship with their baby or toddler

  • Helping families support their child with regulating emotions and behavior

  • Dealing with difficult events such as loss of a loved one, frequent moves or changes in caregivers, scary events such as break-ins, car accidents or community violence

  • Ongoing significant stress due to divorce, substance use or domestic violence at home

The program will provide comprehensive assessment, and short-term (10-16 weeks), evidence-based services addressing early trauma, attachment, behavior concerns and parenting support.

“When dramatic changes occur in the life of a baby or young child, they are affected. We want to help that child and that family with the needed mental health services. Babies and young children may not be able to tell you what’s wrong, but they feel it and it shapes their growth. We want to help our community with this new service,” said Tamikia Greene, Mecklenburg County Assistant Public Health director, Case Management.

Licensed clinicians will use traditional infant and early childhood mental health strategies and provide Attachment and Biobehavioral Catchup , an evidence-based, early childhood model for mental health services. Families must reside in Mecklenburg County with a child aged birth to three years.

For more information: Email [email protected] or call the referral line at 704-336-7130.