Nurturing Healthy Minds Together

In 2019, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to explore the published literature and policy developments around prioritising and supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of very young children – from conception to reception.

The research and policy team at NCB undertook a rapid review of the literature around:
• The extent and nature of mental health support needs in under 5s
• Interventions offered by different providers for families of children aged 0-5 years
• Experiences of families of early years’ interventions/programmes
• Models of parental engagement
• Parental knowledge of the social and emotional needs of 0-5 year olds

The review focuses mainly on UK-based literature, but also draws upon relevant international publications. The search approach included academic databases, reference lists of journal publications, and grey literature, e.g. relevant governmental and non-statutory reports from across the four nations.

The review of the literature is followed by an analysis of those public policies which focus on support for social and emotional development and mental health from conception to age 5 across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The research for this report was carried out pre-COVID-19. The implications included in the summary report have been updated in the light of reported experiences across the early years sector between March to May, 2020.v