Workforce Wednesday - This Month’s Topic: Promoting Early Care and Education Staff Mental Health and Well-Being

In this eblast you will find research, data, and strategies to help local programs, states, territories, and Tribal communities promote early childhood educators’ mental health and well-being. Past Workforce Wednesday eblasts and webinars have highlighted increasing wages and benefits and access to health care, which are also critical to the well-being of the early care and education (ECE) workforce.

Register via this Web link to join the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for a webinar on this topic on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

What We’re Reading Now

Read about opportunities to promote mental health and to increase access to culturally responsive mental health services for the ECE workforce.

Examining the Mental Health of Early Childhood Professionals and Children Early in the Pandemic is a report focused on the mental health status of the ECE workforce and children attending ECE programs during 2020 and 2021, including mental health rates by socio-demographic and work-environment characteristics. State-by-state mental health profiles are provided as well as recommendations for policymakers and funders at the national/Federal and state levels.

Early Childhood Behavioral Health is a new webpage created by the Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) at ACF to house myriad resources that support early childhood mental health, including a section dedicated to ECE program staff and administrators.

Working Conditions and Well-Being of Center-Based Infant-Toddler Teachers analyzes data from the 2019 National Survey of Early Care and Education to examine infant-toddler teachers’ work experiences, challenges, and stressors; their mental and physical health; and reasons for leaving the field. is a new website, launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that helps people navigate through common questions when they are starting their journey to better mental and behavioral health.

Purposefully Investing in the Tribal Home Visiting Workforce describes the current Tribal home visiting workforce and highlights innovative approaches that Tribal home visiting grantees have used in recent years to support recruitment and retention, ensure opportunities for effective training and professional development, and incorporate Tribal traditions and practices into workforce supports.

Culturally-Based Practices are “culturally rooted customs, behaviors, values, and beliefs passed down through generations that function as ‘informal systems of support.’” This website explains how these practices contribute to mental health and provides examples from across different communities.

Delivering Mental Health Services Through a Cultural Lens: What Can We ALL Do? is a webinar that discusses the importance of delivering mental health services through a cultural lens, provides an organizational self-assessment tool on cultural and linguistic competence (CLC), and shares leadership strategies to promote CLC in mental health systems and services.

Innovative Examples

The State Innovations section of ECD’s Early Childhood Behavioral Health webpage features a range of state strategies to promote mental health, including infant and early childhood mental health initiatives from Arkansas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania; financing strategies from Washington; and workforce development efforts in Alabama and Georgia.

Staff Wellness Initiatives from the ECD website compiles a range of resources and examples that programs, agencies, states, territories, and Tribes can use to inform their strategies for supporting ECE staff mental health and wellness.

The National Center for Healthy Safe Children provides information and examples about how states, communities, and Tribes integrate mental and behavioral health services, including Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC), in ECE and home visiting programs through the Project LAUNCH initiative.

The Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation highlights financing strategies that Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan have used to expand access to early childhood mental health consultants. They also have a financing guide that outlines a process for developing a funding strategy and that includes a list of potential Federal funding sources for IECMHC efforts

In Case You Missed It

Here are some past resources on ECE staff mental health and wellness that you may have missed.

Supporting the Wellness of All Staff in the Head Start Workforce is an Information Memorandum from the Office of Head Start (OHS) issued in September 2021 providing guidance on how Head Start grantees should use their resources to support staff wellness.

A Dear Colleague Letter on Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health was issued jointly by HHS and the U.S. Department of Education in June 2022 recommending that states, territories, Tribes, and local programs take action in four areas to promote young children’s social-emotional development. The second recommendation focuses on workforce wellness and their capacity to respond to children’s and families’ mental health needs.

The Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility Renewals: A Communications Toolkit includes strategies to help inform people about steps to renew their health coverage or to find a new health care plan that includes coverage for mental health care. A Spanish-language version is also available.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources is a curated list of resources from the Office of Child Care (OCC) for child care providers to support both their own mental health and the mental health of the children they serve.

The National Early Care and Education Workforce Center is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) to share how this new national effort will examine and address the need for fundamental changes to career advancement systems, compensation, and ECE workplace policies.

Past Webinars on ECE Staff Mental Health

Self-Care Resources

Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mary E. Switzer Building, Fourth Floor, MS 4425
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC  20201
General office number: (202) 690-6782
Fax: (202) 690-5600
General email: [email protected]