Early childhood mental health (ECMH) programs provide an opportunity to provide specialized mental health services to vulnerable young children and connect them with necessary evidence-based early intervention. However, there is a paucity of descriptive and explorative studies of the clinic protocols in the literature. Even within published work, there is a lack of standardization in clinical models and diagnostic systems limiting comparison and extrapolation. This paper describes how the DC: 0–5 framework guides the development of the model for an ECMH clinic embedded in the context of academic pediatrics. It also highlights the opportunity the DC 0–5 presents for developing the standardized protocols and a mechanism for standardized data collection in clinical settings. The paper demonstrates the utility of using the DC 0–5 in protocol development, assessment and data collection the mental health assessments of 87 children ages 0–6 were reviewed to gather information on history, presenting problems, parent-child relationship, and mental health diagnoses. This paper and associated data underscore the utility and necessity of ECMH clinics while identifying challenges in the field.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Primarily we thank all the children and families who presented to this clinic. Additionally, we offer our gratitude and acknowledgement to Alyssa Palmer, MA for her conceptual and analytical support, Kathryn Elison MSW who built the foundation of our clinical data collection protocol thus making this study possible and Nora Erickson PhD for her review and feedback.
© 2023 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.
- clinical model
- DC: 0–5
- early childhood
- mental health
- pediatric psychology
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article