Mental Health In Early Years

18th February 2022

Share this entry:

Mental health in early years refers to the healthy, social, emotional and behavioural well-being of young children. Early childhood mental health is perceived differently depending on the child, their family, and their environment that they are growing and developing in and culture.

The pandemic has caused many young children to be out of education. The most vulnerable have decreased by 1.6 billion children who were out of education at peak of school closures. With that being said, more investment should go into improving children’s learning environment, resources and their mental health and wellbeing. Currently, some well know mental health services for children such as Place2be, Mental Health Foundation, Young Minds, Barnardos and NSPCC to mention a few have been acknowledging the best support for children’s mental health and their family.

Mental health is an important area especially at the early stages of a child’s developmental milestones. In accordance to BBC News Education (Jan, 2022) says

“There has been a 77% rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis, analysis for the BBC shows.”

Headteachers have also reported a huge rise in less severe mental health issues. The government proposes 400 mental health teams to support schools by 2023. As someone with an educational background in early years education (MA in Early Years Education) it has always been of interest to me, how early childhood mental health is being addressed.

In the early stages of a child’s life, they are learning to express and regulate their emotions and understanding of the society that they live in. Children can also experience poor mental health during their early years, for example having attachment issues can affect babies and these issues can become more serious as a child develops.

Children can show characteristics of anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD and neurodevelopmental disabilities such as Autism, at a very early age. It is essential to treat young children’s mental health problems within the context of their families, homes and communities.

Children need to have a safe, supporting relationship with their family, teachers and others. The most significant aspect of early childhood mental health is reassuring the child that someone cares and is accessible to best meet their needs. An example of this is seen in the classroom when a child is learning through play and interacting with their teacher. In a family environment, when the child receives attention and engagement from their parent/guardian this makes the child feel again valued and loved.

According to Nursery World, have stated that there is a need for “Children’s mental health services need a rocket boost in funding” (Nursery World, 2021). This is necessary in order to support the one in six children in England who have probable mental health conditions- as well as those suffering the consequences of their current situation. This has also been discussed by The Children’s Commissioner report, highlights the impact that Covid has had on
children’s mental health.

Lastly, UNCRC Article 24 states health care for children and young people should be as good as possible, and also goes further than this by saying children and young people have the right to be both physically and mentally fulfilled. Among other things, this implies that children and young people: Article 24 (United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child).

Other relevant resources on children’s mental health:
Children’s Rights Alliance for England
Children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
BMJ, Mental Health of Children and Young People during the Pandemic

Why attend Childcare & Education Expo?

Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years & primary sector who are dedicated to improving their practice and their education settings.

Attend educational seminars to credit your CPD

Meet the experts to have your questions answered

Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts

Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops

Network with peers and industry players

Pick up hundreds of new products, resources, ideas and services

And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues

100+ exhibitors | 1000s of industry players | 100s of experts