Gov. Cox, first lady Abby Cox hold annual summit for mental health of children

MIDVALE — The fourth annual ‘Ready! Resilient! Utah Early Childhood Mental Health Summit’ presented by Gov. Spencer Cox and first lady Abby Cox along with The Children’s Center Utah was held Tuesday.

The event allowed for state and community leaders and those with a passion for children and caring for their minds to discuss the ongoing problem and what can be done about it.

Rebecca J. Dutson, president and CEO of The Children’s Center Utah, said all were gathered because they believe in the importance of caring for young ones and their mental health.

“When we work together, especially as a state, together with a private sector, we can make a bigger impact on the mental health outcomes of children and families in Utah,” Dutson said.

She also said there have always been mental health challenges from the young to the elderly.

“Research shows a measurable link between unmet mental health needs in a child’s earliest years and their lifetime outcomes, including increased health concerns and higher rates of poverty, and involvement in the criminal justice system,” Abby Cox said. 

Dutson said largely because of the pandemic, more people are talking about the importance of mental health, particularly its impact on infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

“We can help provide the surroundings and the tools and the protective factors that those children need – tools to be able to react more regulated and feel more confident and to be more resilient in the face of adversity,” she said.

As for steps families can take to help make the world a little brighter for Utah kids, Dutson said every day being aware and recognizing that infants and toddlers have mental health just like youth and adults goes a long way in making a positive difference. 

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