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What is Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Mental health in infancy and early childhood means healthy social and emotional development, secure and nurturing relationships, and caring, supportive communities.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

According to the ZERO TO THREE Infant Mental Health Task Force, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is the developing capacity of the child from birth to age 3 to:


• experience, regulate, and express emotions
• form close and secure interpersonal relationships, and
• explore the environment and learn 

All in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for young children.

As a field, infant and early childhood mental health is an interdisciplinary approach to research, practice, and public policy concerned with maximizing the well-being of infants, young children, and their caregivers through promotion, early identification, preventive intervention, treatment, and support.