TULSA, Okla. (January 26, 2024) – With mental health services growing rapidly across the state, infants
and children 0-5 years of age continue to be an underserved demographic. Specialists in the mental
health field have reaffirmed the importance of family services that focus on relationships between
children and caregivers, and understanding behavioral issues can be helped or heightened in the home.
Families are lacking the resources and training to care for mental health challenges in babies and
toddlers. While there is still no manual for raising children, the formation of a cohort 0-5 age mental
health education is a start.
GRAND Mental Health, in partnership with OSU and ODMHSAS (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Services), has prioritized the need for infant services through the launch of a
training cohort focused on the infant stages of development and the relationship between caregivers
and infants. This cohort, launched in August of 2023, involves staff members from all locations focused
on understanding the family history and dynamic with priority focus on the baby. Currently, there are
159 individuals that are assisting families to support this population, cultivating relationships between
the youth and their caregivers.
Through this partnership, families will be provided earlier opportunities for care and resources, and
children learn earlier on how to manage mental health challenges. GRAND Mental Health staff will be
working to understand family history and challenges to link them to the appropriate resources needed,
whether that be physical development through occupational therapy, PCP, etc.
One such family is experiencing positive outcomes in behavioral development made available by the
cohort’s training. A 9-month-old child was presented for treatment by her foster family due to
withdrawal symptoms from her biological family’s substance abuse issues. The child was experiencing
anxious attachment, excessive crying, and aversion to physical touch, causing delays in motor skills,
speech, and feeding abilities. After evaluation, the foster family was able to participate in Attachment
and Biobehavioral Catchup (ABC) treatment, focusing on changing behaviors of the caregivers that
enhance child attachment and regulation. After 10 weeks, the foster family was able to reinterpret the
child’s behavioral signals and respond sensitively, which in turn, increased development and sensory
As shown above, this cohort will impact the relationships between caregivers and children and greatly
support the developmental trajectory of youth in this age group, providing a safe space for both children
and families to work through mental health challenges for both simultaneously. Additionally, therapists,
many of which are in schools, will be able to support staff and those working with younger youth (4–5-
year-olds). Their skillsets will allow them to explore challenges in relationships and help to improve
parent/child dynamics. Ongoing training will allow clinicians to provide assessment, diagnosis, and
treatment to youth and families needed to support one another.
Again, there are very few programs that support the development of youth 0-5 years of age and
relational difficulties between children and caregivers. This is a transformational program that will
benefit infants and youth early on in life to navigate behavioral and relational challenges.
About GRAND Mental Health
GRAND Mental Health provides services for adults, children, adolescents, and families struggling with behavioral health issues, substance use issues, and integrated/medical needs in northeastern and north central Oklahoma. In business since 1979, GRAND Mental Health is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) providing evidence- based mental health and substance use services integrated with primary health care. Becoming a CCBHC has allowed GRAND Mental Health to hire wellness coaches, dieticians, occupational therapists, behavioral health coaches and peer recovery support specialists to provide a larger spectrum of services to clients. GRAND Mental Health operates 27 clinics and centers in 13 Oklahoma counties, employing more than 1,700 people. GRAND Mental Health strives to provide personalized care, anytime, anywhere. GRAND Mental Health works closely with and is partially funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.