Screening Babies’ Mental Health?

Photo credit: Kenny Louie (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Kenny Louie (CC-By-SA 2.0)

NPR is running an education series on mental health and schools.

Apparently according to “experts” (how one expert referenced becomes plural is a mystery) if you wait to do a mental health screening until kindergarten you may be too late.

Who even thinks to have their children screened for mental health in Kindergarten unless there has been problems?

They write:

Briggs works at the Healthy Steps program at the Montefiore Comprehensive Health Care Center in the South Bronx, screening children as young as 6 months for mental health issues.

That may sound young, too young maybe, but that’s when some experts believe it’s important to catch the first signs that something may be wrong. Many say waiting until kindergarten is too late.

So Briggs sees a lot of babies at the Healthy Steps program, but the crying doesn’t seem to faze her at all. Visiting with baby and parent, she watches the way they interact.

Does the baby look to the parent for comfort? And does the parent respond?

“If a baby feels safe, a baby will explore, and if a baby explores, a baby will learn,” she says, and that’s the basis for mental health.

At the risk of being seen wearing a tinfoil hat I have to ask: with the current push in social emotional learning (SEL) how does this information intersect, and would parents be encouraged to have their babies and toddlers screened?

2 thoughts on “Screening Babies’ Mental Health?

  1. And to add, autistic children would show signs of “mental illness” by the criteria these people are testing these children with and autism is “genetically predetermined — biologically based” or “neurologically based,” it is not a mental health disorder. And what about shyness? They say ‘If a baby feels safe, it will explore’? Some kids in any different surrounding, will be hesitant to explore, even with parent nearby, so are shy kids mentally ill too?

    This just reeks of the establishment trying to scare parents, and drum up some therapy, drugs and more big brother programming!

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