Early Childhood Mental Health

Led by Steve Buka, ScD
Brown University

The goal of the Early Childhood Mental Health Node is to create and bundle interventions that focus on positive mental health, building healthy brains and not treating sick kids. Interventions must focus on new ways to move childhood mental health forward, using a population orientation with a developmental and life course focus

Projects and Progress

Erica Coates received funds from the LCIRN for a pilot study: Population-wide integration of multi-tiered, evidence-based interventions to promote early childhood and parent mental health and

The Family Wellbeing Program (FWP) is a multigenerational, multi-tiered, early childhood education center-based intervention strategy. FWP offers a range of trauma-specific evidence-based and evidence-informed practices to families in under-resourced communities to promote mental health for young children and their parents. Using a population-based approach at an early childhood education center, the study will investigate whether participation in the FWP is associated with 1) promotion of emotional and behavioral wellbeing in children and parents, 2) prevention of mental health problems in children and parents exposed to trauma, and 3) effective treatment of trauma-exposed children and parents with clinical distress and impairment.

Results coming soon! 

Publications and Resources

Buka S, Beers L, Biel MG, et al. The family is the patient: promoting early childhood mental health in pediatric care. Pediatrics. 2022; 149 (Supplement 5); S436-49

Biel MG, Coates EE. Editorial: Sharpening our focus on early adversity, development and resilience through cross-national research. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2021;60(2)219-21

Biel MG, Hamrah O. Editorial: Learning from the pandemic: “Building back better” through research on risk and resilience with diverse populations. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2021;60(4)445-447

Walsh TB, Paris R, Julie Ribaudo, Gilkerson L. Locating Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at the Heart of Social Work. Social Work. 2021; 66(3)187–196. 

Childhood Mental Health and the Life Course Model: a 6-webinar series (LCIRN and NASEM)

Collaborative partners

Stephen Buka, Brown University (Contact: Stephen_Buka@brown.edu)

Matthew Biel, Georgetown University

Erica Coates, Georgetown University

Stacy Drury, Tulane University

Jim Hudziak, University of Vermont

Masha Ivanova, University of Vermont

Ruth Paris, Boston University

Stephanie Parade, Brown University

Ronald Seifer, Brown University