DENVER (March 2, 2022) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) announced a new Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Support Line to connect parents and caregivers of children under age 6 with the mental health resources they need.
The support line is a no-cost, confidential service that is available statewide. Parents and caregivers, including early childhood professionals, can call 833.326.4411 (833 ECMH 411) Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to speak with an early childhood mental health consultant. Consultation available through the support line can help families and caregivers to better understand and support the emotional well-being of young children in their care by discussing needs, brainstorming appropriate support resources, and connecting parents and caregivers to local community resources.
Common reasons to call the support line include parenting stress, changes in child behavior, supporting big emotions, building relationships and more. Parents, caregivers and early childhood professionals can learn more about the support line at MentalHealthStartsEarly.com.
“All children have mental health, even babies. Parents and other caregivers play an important role in building children's social-emotional skills,” said Mary Alice Cohen, director of the Colorado Office of Early Childhood. “The Early Childhood Mental Health Support Line is there for any family who would like to support the well-being of children in their care. There are many resources available throughout our state that we can connect families with; no one should hesitate to reach out to learn more.”
The pandemic has heightened concerns many parents and caregivers have about how best to support children's developing mental health. Working with children at an early age can help them make friends, care for others, manage emotions, and resolve conflict peacefully. When children and caregivers build these skills together early on, children are set up for success as they continue to grow and develop, and enter school.
“All families may benefit from reaching out to the Early Childhood Mental Health Support Line. It is a great way to connect with an experienced consultant who can help you understand what support is available and directly connect you to a team in your area,” said Lisa Schlueter, Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ECMH strategy lead at the Office of Early Childhood. “Connecting families to these supports can have wonderful results. Caregivers may see behavior they find challenging reduced while their relationships with children are strengthened. The support line aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of caregivers in a way that supports positive mental health early and creates a foundation for lifelong health and well-being.”
The Early Childhood Mental Health Support Line is not a crisis line. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, helpless or need someone to talk to, Colorado Crisis Services offers free, confidential and professional 24/7 support. Call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.
This initiative is funded through Colorado’s federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, a three-year $33.5 million initiative designed to implement activities identified in the Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan to ensure all children are ready for school when entering kindergarten.