By: Kate Steber, MSW/MPH Intern at Durham’s Partnership for Children
This week, the Partnership convened a meeting focusing on the mental health needs of Durham’s youngest children. In order to better understand early childhood mental health in Durham county, stakeholders gathered for two hours to discuss this important issue.
The meeting attendees represented a large variety of agencies working with young children across Durham, including: the Center for Child & Family Health, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Early Head Start, Lincoln Community Health Center, Carolina Outreach, El Futuro, Child Care Services Association, Duke Integrated Pediatric Mental Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, Durham Public Schools, Children’s Developmental Services Agency, North Carolina Infant/Young Child Mental Health Association, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, Durham County Department of Public Health,Exchange Family Center, Community Partnerships, and Durham County Social Services.
The meeting began by briefly reviewing work being done in other counties across North Carolina to address early childhood mental health. Next, attendees were asked to discuss the specific mental health needs of children age zero to five. This task provided a long list of important needs in our community including more trauma-informed care, more provider trainings, and greater understanding of healthy social-emotional development. The conversation then shifted to discuss the challenges and barriers families in Durham face when trying to access mental health supports for their young children. Attendees again shared a variety of concerns including long waiting lists and not enough bilingual providers. The meeting concluded with brainstorming potential next steps to improve the mental health system in Durham for its youngest citizens.
The Partnership is grateful to have had the opportunity to host this meeting and learn from early childhood mental health experts in the community. Thank you to all of our partners who attended the meeting and shared their knowledge and expertise with us! We look forward to continuing this work and conversation in Durham.
For more information on early childhood mental health resources in Durham, be sure to check out the resource guide we created. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of other agencies we should include!