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A New Day in Georgia for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health – SaportaReport





These days, the subject of mental health seems to be everywhere. In the wake of the pandemic, doctors, educators and heads of government are all newly aware of mental health issues and the imperative to integrate their treatment into everyday health care.

Yet the public still has some catching up to do when it comes to understanding the mental health needs of infants and toddlers. A growing body of research indicates that babies do have mental health — and that’s an essential stepping stone to a life of well-being.

This is why GEARS is delighted to have been a main partner in the formation of the Georgia Association for Child Mental Health (GA-AIMH). The association has several goals, including raising awareness of the social and emotional needs of young children, developing and supporting the state’s IECMH workforce, and promoting collaboration between systems.

GA-AIMH was founded after a two-year series of conversations, collaborations and recommendations within the GEARS Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Committee. Georgia Infants and Toddlers Coalition. Throughout the year, an exploratory board that included GEARS Senior Director of Health Policy, Callan Wells, worked to define GA-AIMH’s vision, mission, values ​​and goals and to find a seat for the Association at the Mark Chaffin Center at Georgia State University. for Healthy Development (MCCHD).

GA-AIMH is now operational and offers training for behavioral health clinicians in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP).

The association celebrated its launch during a lunch on November 2n/a at Georgia State College of Law. At the lectern of the jubilant event were speakers including GEARS Executive Director Mindy Binderman and Georgian Ministry of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs.

“According to the National Institutes of Health,” Jacobs told the group, “9 to 14 percent of children ages zero to five have emotional or behavioral problems, the same rate as school-aged children. Mental health starts at the beginning and we need a system in Georgia to better support the mental health of young children and their caregivers.

“A lot of people who came to the launch expressed their gratitude,” Wells observed afterwards. She noted that the 150 attendees came from across Georgia and represented a range of professions, from mental health clinicians to state agency professionals, from advocates to child care providers. “They were expecting this. They had children who suffered trauma and they had nowhere to refer them. Having this training center, a professional home for people who want to support young children in this way, is something they really needed.

Indeed, many luncheon attendees reported that the hall practically “vibrated” with hopeful energy.

We think similar optimism – and a great mini-education on CHEI – can be found in the video below. In it, you’ll hear about the policy advances that GEARS and its partners have made on behalf of Georgia’s youngest children. You will also learn what you can do to support GA-AIMH with GEARS, which continues to be a partner of GA-AIMH and an advocate for CHEI through the Georgia Infant and Toddler Coalition.

Together, we can help propel the next generation of babies into a healthy and prosperous future.

This is sponsored content.