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Understanding and supporting mental health in infancy and early childhood: A PEDAL and UNICEF UK Toolkit

There is widespread concern about babies’, children’s and young people’s mental health in the UK, particularly after the pandemic. Surveys of children, young people, parents, grandparents and teachers all reveal worries about mental health.

Significant evidence shows us that the foundations for lifelong mental health are laid during pregnancy and the earliest years of life. Thankfully, this is more widely appreciated than it used to be, and in recent years there has been welcome investment in services to support babies’ mental health across the UK.

However that are still some fundamental barriers to action on infant mental health. Many people don’t really know what mental health means, especially when applied to babies and young children.

This new toolkit, from PEDAL and UNICEF UK, for supporting mental health in infancy and early childhood aims to support and enhance a deeper understanding of what we mean by mental health in the early years. It contains a framework that describes what mental health is, and a socio-ecological model which sets out the factors that influence mental health, along with supporting evidence, base studies and links to useful resources.

Find out more

You can read more about the toolkit, and what it means for infants and young children to be mentally healthy, here: