Third annual Utah Early Childhood Mental Health Summit addresses access to mental health care

Nov 17, 2022, 6:40 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 5:36 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah aims to be a national leader in addressing mental health issues, including the mental health of the youngest Utahns.

The Children’s Center Utah is raising awareness and providing hope for those kids and their families. On Thursday, they hosted the third annual Utah Early Childhood Mental Health Summit.

In many ways, the pandemic exposed mental health challenges in every age group. But it also raised awareness of that growing need.

Gov. Spencer Cox and first lady Abby Cox helped kick off the online summit by renewing their commitment to mental health services.

“I’m passionate about making sure that everyone understands that mental health is just as important as physical health,” the governor said in the online summit. It was attended by business, community and state leaders, along with mental health professionals.

The governor and first lady believe Utahns’ mental health is just as critical as physical health, and we need to treat it that way, even among infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

“The need is great, and now is the time to act to ensure that all Utah children have access to mental health services,” said Abby Cox.

As a community, the president of the Children’s Center said we begin by recognizing that kids that age have mental health and that addressing their challenges has life-long positive impacts.

“We can do better for our kids. We can help our kids be ready and resilient,” said Rebecca Dutson, president and CEO of The Children’s Center Utah.

Following the summit last year, collaborative work has already started to create a baseline estimate of need for early childhood mental health services.

Utah is also working to increase early childhood mental health awareness activities to increase understanding and reduce stigma related to mental health. They are also working on estimating the long-term value of early childhood mental health in Utah.

“When we work with small children, when we are addressing the early needs, we are building for the future generations,” Abby Cox said.

Dutson explained that when mental health challenges kids may face early in life are addressed by working together with them and their families, it teaches them the skills they need. It has lasting positive effects for the child and the entire family.

“While mental health needs have always existed among our children, now is the time to sharpen our focus upstream on early childhood mental health,” Dutson said.

The Children’s Center Utah is working to provide more services throughout the state to train providers and enable care for families. The ultimate goal is to give families hope and healing when they’re most vulnerable.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Michael Locklear

With so many kids sick, some Utah pharmacies run out of liquid Tylenol, ibuprofen

As parents deal with sick children, some are also facing another challenge. Some common medications can be hard to find, including liquid Tylenol and ibuprofen.
3 days ago
FILE: This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...
AMANDA SEITZ, Associated Press

US plans end to mpox public health emergency in January

The federal government plans to end in January the public health emergency it declared earlier this year after an outbreak of mpox left more than 29,000 people across the U.S. infected.
3 days ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
3 days ago
Give A Thon...
Madison Swenson

How to donate to Primary Children’s Hospital during KSL’s Give-A-Thon

The annual KSL Give-A-Thon is Wednesday, Nov. 30 in partnership with Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. Here's how you can donate.
6 days ago
Primary Children's Hospital announced Monday about 50 elective, prescheduled surgeries will be dela...
Cassidy Wixom, and Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

‘Unprecedented surge’ of RSV patients causes more surgery delays at children’s hospital

Primary Children's Hospital announced Monday it will be delaying 50 elective, preplanned surgeries that require the patient to stay overnight due to capacity issues from high rates of RSV and other respiratory illnesses.
7 days ago
RSV and flu...
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Flu season intensifies, holiday gatherings could make it worse

Americans gathered for Thanksgiving last week amid a flu season that's worse than any has been in more than a decade, and experts continue to urge caution as multiple respiratory viruses circulate at high levels nationwide.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Third annual Utah Early Childhood Mental Health Summit addresses access to mental health care