Mental health is a crucial part of a person’s overall health and well-being. Early childhood mental health refers to the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of young children and their families, including the capacity to experience, regulate, and express emotion, form close, secure relationships, and explore the environment and learn. Optimal mental health allows children to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. For children, mental health challenges can impact their ability to access school or child care, develop peer relationships, and can have lifelong impacts.

Children’s mental health problems are real, common, and treatable. They include depression, anxiety, and attention and behavioral concerns. One in five children between the ages of 6 and 8 has a social, emotional, or behavioral health condition [1].

The State Advisory Council prioritized Early Childhood and Family Mental Health for both 2019 and 2020 and has issued four Recommendations. The full ECFMH Task Force Report contains a parent perspective, a provider perspective, discussion questions, and graphics to help understand these complex systems.

Return to the Table of Contents for the 2019 How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families? report.

1. The United States Census Bureau (2019). National Survey of Children’s Health. 2016, 2017, 2018. Indicators in the public data file: K2Q30A/B; K2Q31A/B; K2Q32A/B; K2Q33A/B; K2Q34A/B; K2Q35A/B; K2Q36A/B; K2Q37A/B.
Analyses of the 2016-2018 NSCH multi-year weighted data was conducted by Laurin Kasehagen, MA, PhD, an epidemiology assignee to the Vermont Department of Health.