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Children, Youth and Families

From birth to adulthood, Ohio's children deserve our best efforts to support their mental wellness. Left unidentified and untreated, a serious mental disorder can cause significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Through early identification and intervention, children and adolescents with mental illnesses can achieve success in school, in work and in family life.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, through its Bureau of Prevention and Office of Children and Family, is dedicated to statewide improvement and expansion of comprehensive community systems that help families support their childrens' health from the womb through young adulthood. In collaboration with the interagency Ohio Family and Children First Cabinet Council and its regional and local infrastructure, we are working with families and across systems to identify behavioral health needs in primary care, educational and juvenile justice settings. OhioMHAS is also working across systems to address the effects of traumatic experiences on children that may effect their health for a lifetime.

Early Childhood Mental Health (Birth to 6 years)
Compelling evidence from developmental research indicates that early relationships and experiences at home and in early care and education environments set the stage for how a child learns self-regulation skills, the ability to manage emotions and how to develop close relationships. The Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) provides cross-system leadership in the development of the early childhood mental health initiative.

School-Age Children
Student mental health is a major concern, affecting both the health system and the education system. In order to address mental health problems early, we must reach children where they spend the majority of their time - in schools. (Source: Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success Advocacy Brief, April 2006)

Transition-Age Youth (14 – 25 year olds)
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a crucial stage of development in every person’s life. The capacity to function in adult roles is determined by the ability to master the critical life skills and rites of passage during the transition. The transition to adulthood is especially challenging for young adults with serious mental health conditions. Ohio has many innovative services and supports for transition-age youth. (Source: Paving the Way for a New Day for Young Adults in Ohio’s Mental Health System)