Mental health in infants and children is about how young children begin to organize their feelings and connect with other people. It includes their growing capacity to regulate and express their emotions and behavioral responses, to form secure relationships with others, and explore the environment in the context of their family, community, and cultural expectations (Zero To Three).

Scope in Pediatrics

  • 1 in 6 US children have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, making it one of the most prevalent set of categories of child health problems. Even more children have mental health symptoms that do not meet full diagnostic criteria for a specific mental health condition. 
  • Many biological, family, and social risk factors for child mental health problems are present early in life, offering opportunities for identifying children who may be at risk for developing mental health problems.

  • Pediatricians are in a unique position to use systematic approaches to identify children and families at risk, offer early intervention efforts in the practice through community supports and services.

Teaching Points



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Special Acknowledgment

The AAP gratefully acknowledges support for the Pediatric Mental Health Minute in the form of an educational grant from SOBI.