Not Enough Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants in Colorado to Address Needs of Children


January 27, 2020

Media Contact:
Aubree Hughes

Not Enough Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants in Colorado to Address Needs of Children

Denver­—Children as young as 6 months old need mental health support—and the majority in Colorado do not get the care they need. House Bill 20-1006 will improve the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultations (ECMHC) program in Colorado and promote a strong, healthy start for our children.

An early childhood consultant is an individual who connects early childhood professionals, families and young children to qualified professionals with expertise in early childhood development and mental health. Consultants generally provide support and guidance in areas such as behavior management, emotion regulation strategies, classroom management, skill building, and social-emotional development.

“We’re really missing an opportunity if we wait until children are in elementary, middle, or high school, to start addressing mental health concerns,” said Sarah Davidon, director of research at Mental Health Colorado. “These consultants have shown to create healthier environments. They can change the climate and culture of an early childhood settings so teachers feel more confident in their roles and classrooms tend to be safer, healthier, and more equipped to deal with the issues young students might face.”

Evidence of success from other states has demonstrated less classroom burnout for early childhood educators, decrease in suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings, increase in emotional regulation skills, and increase in early identification of mental health of developmental delays.

House Bill 20-1006 passed out of the House Public Health Care & Human Services on Friday, January 24. The bill is supported by Mental Health Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Colorado Children’s Campaign.

About Mental Health Colorado:

Mental Health Colorado is the state’s leading advocate in promoting mental wellness, ending stigma and ensuring equitable access to mental health and substance use services. Mental Health Colorado is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and an affiliate of Mental Health America.