Early Intervention works!

New Study Indicates That Early Intervention for Young Children with Mental Health Challenges Supports Healthy Development and Improves Family Life
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

According to a new report released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), behavioral and emotional problems decreased among nearly one-third (31 percent) of young children with mental health challenges within the first 6 months after entering services through systems of care program. The report, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children and Their Families, describes the academic, social, and emotional performance outcomes of children ages 8 and younger receiving services in systems of care. These SAMHSA-funded systems of care programs provide family-driven and culturally and linguistically competent services and supports to children and youth with mental health challenges and their families.

The national evaluation of systems of care program also found that nearly one-third of caregivers of young children with mental health challenges reported less strain 6 months after their children entered services in a system of care. Specifically, these caregivers reported less strain in areas such as the caregiver feeling sad/unhappy or isolated, as well as disruptions of family routines and missed work/neglected duties as a result of their child’s emotional or behavioral problems. Evaluation results indicate that this individualized, tailored approach for establishing early interventions for young children with mental health challenges benefits all—children, families and caregivers, and the community.

“The earlier we recognize a child’s mental health needs, the sooner we can help,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Early recognition and intervention can prevent years of disability and help children and families thrive. All parents should learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems in early childhood; furthermore, they should seek help for their child’s mental health problems with the same urgency as any other health condition.”

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