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Children, Youth, and Family

What is Mental Health?

Everyone has “mental health.”  It is how we think, feel, and act in order to face life situations.  It is how we look at ourselves, our lives, and the people we know and care about.  It helps determine how we identify and regulate emotions, relate to others, and make daily choices.  Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, and it can change over time. 

What do Children and Youth Need?

Children and adolescents have unique needs when we promote their mental wellness and prevent mental illness.  Children are not simply “little adults.”  Human development is marked by periods of rapid change, especially between birth and age six.  Children’s brains continue to grow and develop rapidly and are affected by biological, social, and environmental factors especially within the family system.  Early efforts to promote the healthy emotional and social development of children and their family members can have tremendous benefits for children in the long-term.  These benefits include school readiness, academic success, choosing healthy behaviors, positive peer/family relationships, and positive involvement in their community. 

Want to help your child to develop emotionally, physically, and socially, learn, solve problems, cope with stress, develop motor skills, make friends and express their feelings?  Have fun with them with music, dancing around, and making art! Sometimes children do not meet expected milestones in cognitive, social, and emotional development, and it can be helpful to seek supports and services for the child and family.  Effective help is available in Vermont’s system of care. 

The Agency of Human Services is committed to interagency teaming efforts to create a seamless Children’s System of Care for children 0-22. Learn more about these cross-departmental (DCF-DMH-DAIL) efforts on the Integrating Family Services website (