Early Childhood Mental Health Resources

childhood mental health resources


California Mental Health Resources

The California Mental Health Resources website provides important mental health resources, including local mental health department resources, organized by County, public education and awareness programs, suicide prevention information and other important resources. You can access the website at Resources - IECMHC (iecmhcnetwork.org) 

California All

Many of us are feeling a lot of stress right now. CA Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke developed two playbooks— one for adults and one for caregivers and kids— to help deal with stress during COVID-19:

California Surgeon General’s Stress Relief Playbooks https://www.chconline.org/resourcelibrary/california-surgeon-generals-stress-relief-playbooks-downloadable/

ACES Connection

The California Department of Public Health, Injury and Prevention Branch (CDPH/IVPB) and the California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention (CDSS/OCAP), Essentials for Childhood (EfC) Initiative, ACEs Connection, and the Yolo County Children’s Alliance have co-created a newly developed resource, Coping with Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic, in both English and Spanish. This material is intended for Californian families experiencing the severe economic consequences resulting from novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and shares resources and offers supportive information on ways Californians can take care of themselves and their families during the pandemic.

Coping with Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic One-Pager https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/new-resource-coping-with-stress-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-one-pager-english-and-spanish


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. The CDC offers the following resources on coping with disaster, traumatic events and stress:

Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Office of Head Start, The National Center on Health

Caring for yourself is important for your health and wellness, and it is directly related to your ability to care for others and to succeed at work. Although you can’t avoid all stress, too much stress can make it hard to provide care for others, especially infants and toddlers who depend on your physical and emotional availability. Taking care of yourself also protects you against the negative impact stress can have on your own physical and mental health. The Office of Head Start, National center on Health offers the following resources on practicing self-care, staff wellness and managing stress:

Practicing Self-Care and Professionalism https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/itrg-article_self-care_for_teachers.pdf

Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental health of children, families and staff every day. Early childhood mental health is the same as social and emotional well-being. It is a child’s developing capacity to express and regulate emotions, form trusting relationships, explore, and learn—all in the cultural context of family and community. The Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center website offers several resources for supporting the mental health and well-being of children and the adults that care for them:


The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s mission is to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States. The website, located at https://www.nctsn.org/ is frequently updated to provide resources regarding early childhood trauma, as well as other related topics.

During this time, you and your colleagues may be experiencing different reactions to stress. There are several ways you can find balance, be aware of your needs, and make connections. The resource Taking Care of Yourself provides a list to help you decide which self-care strategies will work for you:

Taking Care of Yourself


The article Coping in Hard Times discusses how challenging financial circumstances may affect you, other school staff, students and their families, and provides specific ways to help:

Coping in Hard Times


Anxiety and Depression Association of America

When a couple has an anxiety disorder, both partners face a new set of challenges, and other challenges may be exacerbated. This article provides resources on how to support a spouse or partner when one is experiencing anxiety disorder:

Spouse or Partner


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness and provides various resources to assist with addressing the challenges of mental illness:


UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and UCLA Health

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA Health offers the Mindful App. With this easy-to-use app, you can practice mindfulness meditation anywhere, anytime with the guidance of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Scientific research shows mindfulness can help manage stress-related physical conditions, reduce anxiety and depression, cultivate positive emotions, and help improve overall physical health and well-being Practice mindfulness with this free app:

UCLA Mindful App


Focus on the Go! is a free game that helps your family enhance and develop coping skills:

Focus on the Go!



Zero to Three

The Earliest podcast takes a deep and personal look into mental health in the earliest years of life.

We’ve all seen the news headlines, and many of us are experiencing the impact firsthand of the unprecedented mental health crisis among people of all ages and walks of life. During Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite you to a safe space to listen, reflect, and connect with a topic that matters to everyone.

Join host Ernestine Benedict and early childhood expert, doula, and mother Elizabeth Pihlaja as we explore pregnancy, birth, trauma, and mental health and well-being in the earliest years of life – the years that matter most. Because who we become starts even before birth.


There’s been much written and discussed about how those challenges have impacted students in K-12 schools and colleges — how they're suffering in the wake of the pandemic and experiencing alarmingly high rates of mental health concerns. But what about kids who are even younger — infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children who also lived through the pandemic and are not immune to the stressors that it caused?

Those kids — yes, even babies — have suffered too, experts say. And given how foundational this period of their lives is for future outcomes and development, it’s especially urgent that the mental health and well-being of infants and young children be addressed early. Continue reading below: 

Who’s Looking Out for the Mental Health of Infants and Toddlers?


The Discovery Source

Children experience big emotions. The Discovery Source offers The Calming Kit

That provides ideas for simple things to do at home to support children. This resource includes a link to Belly Breathing with Elmo.

The Calming Kit


Immediate Assistance

If you or someone you know is experiencing negative mental health effects and need more immediate assistance, please reach out to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disasters Stress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). Both are available 24/7, 365 days a year.