National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation
   

Strategies for Identifying and Engaging Key Team Members

Ideally, the Mental Health Workgroup should be comprised of a variety of individuals who are involved with your program’s mental health consultation services, including teachers, parents, community partners, and consultants. See the guidance in Tutorial 8 for assistance in identifying key members for your committee.

Mental Health Workgroups should incorporate diverse voices, such as:

  • Staff who represent diverse staff roles across your program
  • Staff who are responsible for mental health consultation, social-emotional development, and staff wellness
  • Staff/Families who represent geographically distinct centers or sites
  • Staff/Families who represent the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the families you serve
  • Staff/Families who represent home-based and center-based components of your program
  • Staff who represent any different specific programs within your agency (e.g., Early Head Start, Migrant Head Start, etc.)
  • Parents of children who have been recipients of mental health/mental health consultation services at Head Start
  • Key community partners who play an important role in providing early childhood and family mental health services in your community, such as a mental health provider or a peer navigator for families with children who experience emotional and behavioral challenges.

As in all Head Start governance, parents and family members have a key role to play in the Mental Health Workgroup. Because family involvement is central to Head Start, it is very important to have meaningful inclusion of Head Start parents whose children experience social-emotional or behavioral challenges, or other mental health issues. It is important to recognize, however, that involving family members in policy-level work requires careful planning about how to support parents and ensure meaningful involvement. For more information and ideas about how to involvement parents successfully in mental health policy work, see “Involving Families in Policy Group Work”, a tip sheet from the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (2001).

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