The mental health of New York’s youngest children is of the upmost importance to ensure that they have the ability to thrive and grow in their homes, child care centers, and classrooms and develop into successful adults. In response to the needs of the city’s youngest children and their families, First Lady Chirlane McCray has announced the creation of the Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Network, which will provide mental health services to children under six years of age and support families with children with mental health needs. The ECMH network, operated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was developed to work in conjunction with the Administration for Children's Services' and Department of Education’s new social-emotional learning supports, which will be available to children in EarlyLearn and Pre-K for All sites. The implementation of the ECMH Network will be the most comprehensive mental health plan in the country, and demonstrates New York City’s innovative approach to meeting the needs of the city’s children. Most importantly, this unprecedented work marks the City’s commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of children and families.
The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute supports the City’s efforts to provide information, professional development, and resources to the early childhood teachers and leaders who work with families every day. Research has consistently demonstrated that social-emotional skills are critical for children to navigate the world inside the classroom and beyond. These skills also build the foundation for children’s mental health well into adulthood. Through implementing the ECMH Network, New York City has made a strong investment in the City’s children and its future.