2.2

Additional Considerations

brother and sister running

It is important to point out that mental health consultants are not the only ones who have critical roles to play in achieving effective ECMHC. Head Start/Early Head Start program administrators and other staff with leadership responsibilities are essential partners. These individuals help set the stage for how consultation services will be received by staff

Role #3: Enhancing Mental Health Services and Supports

Happy baby with a snack

A third major role of consultants is enhancing mental health services and supports for children, families, providers and programs. Consultants work collaboratively with caregivers and programs on enhancements at various levels: from promoting mental wellness for all children to preventing social/emotional issues in at-risk children to early intervention for children exhibiting challenging or troubling behavior.

Role #2: Empowering Caregivers

girl with father at lake

Another essential role that consultants play is empowering caregivers (parents and providers). As previously discussed, the goal of early childhood mental health consultation is not to have a consultant “fix” the problem or the child’s behavior in lieu of those who provide regular care for the child. Instead, the consultant supports and empowers caregivers to

Activity: Do You and the Programs You Serve Embrace the Same Approach to Mental Health Services and Supports?

toddler in grassy yard

Research on early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) shows that Head Start/Early Head Start programs who are in strong agreement with their mental health consultant about a philosophy or approach to providing children’s mental health services perceived their consultant to be more involved, demonstrated higher levels of “best practice” implementation, and reported better perceived outcomes

Activity: Do You and the Programs You Serve Embrace the Same Approach to Mental Health Services and Supports?

toddler in grassy yard

Research on early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) shows that Head Start/Early Head Start programs who are in strong agreement with their mental health consultant about a philosophy or approach to providing children’s mental health services perceived their consultant to be more involved, demonstrated higher levels of “best practice” implementation, and reported better perceived outcomes

Role # 1: Fostering a Positive Attitude Toward Early Childhood Mental Health

toddler with earphones

One of a consultant’s major roles is fostering a positive attitude toward early childhood mental health and achieving a shared vision for how to approach early childhood mental health. Research on early childhood mental health consultation shows that HS/EHS programs who are in strong agreement with their mental health consultant about a philosophy or approach

Key Tasks for Consultants

child reading book

Head Start/Early Head Start programs must enlist the services of a licensed mental health professional to provide regular onsite mental health consultation. The minimum requirements for this consultation, per the Head Start Performance Standards, include the following tasks: Design and implement program practices responsive to the identified behavioral and mental health concerns of an individual

Module 2: What Is the Mental Health Consultant’s Role?

mom and daughter

Learning Objectives After completing this module, you will be able to: Describe the mental health consultant’s minimally required tasks as outlined in the Head Start Performance Standards Describe the fundamental roles of a mental health consultant Identify activities that consultants can do in Head Start/Early Head Start settings to fulfill each of these roles

This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.