About Mental Health Services
Mental health consultants play an integral role within Yeled v’Yalda’s Head Start team, supporting the parent-child relationship, and ensuring a successful integration of the child into the classroom. Their responsibilities include observing children in home and classroom environments, working with parents and staff, providing referrals to community agencies, and offering trainings for parents and staff on a variety of mental health topics.
- Guide children toward positive emotional and cognitive growth by helping them develop age-appropriate personal and interpersonal behaviors;
- Provide staff, parents, and guardians, with contemporary and prevailing insights into the child development process;
- Assist in the early identification of children with disabilities;
- Integrate home and community resources within an individualized child-centered program;
- Foster a positive attitude toward mental health services and their role in individual child development;
- Identify availability and promote the use of community-based mental health services for our children and families.
Yeled v’Yalda’s mental health consultants provide formal and informal training for parents and staff to learn to recognize and address behavioral and emotional concerns in children and respond to the emotional needs of children individually and as a group. Topics that have been covered in the past include dealing with challenging behaviors at home and in school, such as biting or hitting; establishing effective routines at home and in school; addressing toileting issues; and helping children learn to smoothly transition between activities. In addition, mental health consultants educate parents and staff on specific mental health and behavioral concerns such as selective mutism, autistic spectrum disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Teachers, home-visitors, staff members, and parents may meet with the mental health consultant individually or within a group setting. Educational and informational materials on behavioral and mental health concerns are distributed at ongoing teacher meetings.
Mental health consultants work directly with other staff members by performing classroom observations and providing feedback regarding behavioral and mental health concerns observed in the classroom. Yeled v’Yalda’s interventions and policies help to limit suspensions and prohibit expulsions from school. Staff observations are shared with parents through phone calls or in-person meetings. Parents are contacted to share progress regarding positive displays of emotional health, as well as behaviors which may point to areas of concern.
Yeled v’Yalda’s mental health consultants also meet with parents on an individual basis to discuss a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from establishing routines at home and dealing with sibling rivalry, to addressing complicated family circumstances and managing crisis situations. Yeled v’Yalda provides culturally appropriate referrals to a large range of mental health and social service organizations, as well as in-house referrals to a variety of additional Yeled v’Yalda programs.