Our Kids Network Early Years Mental Health Toolkit

Talking about mental health in the early years

Our Kids Network
Our Kids Network Early Years Mental Health Toolkit
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Beth Williams

Beth Williams

Beth Williams is the communications and marketing manager at Our Kids Network. To Beth, collaboration is everything. Individuals from agencies and organizations in the early learning and care field; library systems; child, youth and family services; faith-based organizations; and the public, education, mental health and children’s services sectors are connected through OKN.

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The Halton-based Early Years Mental Health Toolkit is a new online resource for service providers who work with and support families with infants and young children. A comprehensive resource on social-emotional development in the first six years of a child’s life, the toolkit was developed by the Our Kids Network (OKN) Early Years Mental Health (EYMH) Committee.

Catherine Wills, of the Halton Region Health Department and chair of the OKN EYMH Committee, said research shows that early experiences shape the developing brain and provide the foundation for an individual’s mental health and well-being. Yet, mental health in the earliest (and most important) years of a child’s life is not something we often hear or talk about.

We all have a role to play in promoting and protecting the mental well-being of infants, young children and their families.

“Since 2004, the OKN EYMH Committee has been working hard to advance the importance of mental health in the early years. Over the last few years, our committee has focused on developing an easy-to-access “toolkit” of evidence-informed information and resources.”

The toolkit makes it easier to use the knowledge in daily practice by simplifying and organizing complex information into 8 Areas of Focus that provide key learning, plus talking points and links to specific resources.

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Our Kids Network Early Years Mental Health Toolkit focus

  • Brain Development & the Environment
  • Stress & Brain Development
  • Executive Function & Self-regulation
  • Temperament
  • Resiliency
  • Positive Caring Relationships
  • Attachment
  • Play

“We’ll also use the toolkit to get people talking and encourage collaboration,” Wills said. “It will help connect service providers and their agencies across Halton to share challenges and ideas and have discussions. We all have a role to play in promoting and protecting the mental well-being of infants, young children and their families.”

For more information about the Halton Early Years Mental Health Toolkit, visit ourkidsnetwork.ca/EYMHToolkit

Our Kids Network is a Halton-wide partnership of organizations and agencies serving children and youth that embraces the vision “All children thrive.” For more information about Our Kids Network, visit ourkidsnetwork.ca.

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