National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Leadership Role in Developing/Maintaining a Shared "Vision"

Head Start and Early Head Start program administrators play a key role in developing and maintaining a shared vision of a mental health approach. Program directors and other administrators who value early childhood mental health wellness create an early childhood environment that is informed by a mental health perspective and is responsive to the mental health needs of children, families, and staff. A leadership team that values mental health wellness is essential for promoting a mental health perspective across all program components and for helping families and staff share the program's vision of mental health wellness. This is essential for modeling positive relationships between mental health consultants and staff. It will also create an environment where staff and families understand early childhood mental health in a non-stigmatizing way, and how it is related to all aspects of child development.

Program directors can take a strong leadership role in developing and maintaining a shared vision of a mental health approach by:

  • Creating a mental health mission statement through the strategic planning process
  • Engaging families, staff, and community members in creating a mental health strategic plan and revising that plan regularly
  • Integrating a mental health perspective into program policies and procedures
  • Incorporating the mental health mission statement, the mental health strategic plan, and the mental health policies and procedures into new staff orientation
  • Providing ongoing staff development on topics related to early childhood mental health
  • Creating space and opportunities for staff, families, and mental health consultants to develop relationships
  • Modeling positive relationships with the mental health consultant
  • Developing community partners who support the program's vision of a mental health approach
  • Using creative and flexible approaches to expand the resources available for mental health supports to children, families, and staff
  • Valuing and supporting staff wellness




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation