Ontario is a vibrant province diverse in its communities ranging from large urban settings to rural communities that span a great geographic distance. The diversity of Canadian communities underscores the need to work locally with agencies and experts to determine how the science and best practices for infant and early mental health can be effectively embedded into policies, programs and services. While some aspects of mental health services may be well-designed or under construction in some regions, an inclusive and coordinated system of infant and early mental health services is, in itself, in its infancy. Building on the findings of an environmental scan, conducted by IEMHP, of a sample of Ontario communities, and subsequent recommendations included in the recent Supporting Ontario’s Youngest Minds: Investing in the mental health of children under 6 report (Clinton, et al., 2014 p. 21), it is evident that:
In December 2014, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) provided funding to IEMHP to create a collaborative, community-based process to further explore the issues at play for direct service delivery agencies. Through this project, IEMHP consulted with five communities in Ontario (Niagara, Simcoe, Muskoka and Parry Sound, Ottawa, and Regent Park Toronto) to gain a better understanding among all agencies and sectors concerned with infant and early mental health as to the existing gaps or barriers, opportunities for improved service delivery, and potential solutions for inter-systemic supports. Common themes emerged across communities about infant and early mental health practices, policies, services, and in relation to the knowledge and competencies of those working with this young population and their families.
Last Updated: October 2017