Reflections from Baltimore: The Role of Early Childhood Mental Health Providers in Responding to Community Unrest

  • Sarah Nelson
  • Lauren Carpenter
  • Rebecca Vivrette
  • Kay Connors
Keywords: Early Childhood; Mental Health; Trauma


Many families in Baltimore have been impacted by decades of racial injustice, poverty and multiple adversities, resulting in poor access to basic needs, such as jobs, housing, quality education, and healthy food. These conditions are associated with an accumulation of exposure to traumatic events compounded by circumstances that result in physical and mental health disparities. The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on April 19, 2015 sparked a strong response across the nation, and forced sentiments to the surface that have been brewing in Baltimore’s citizens for decades. This reflective article details the process, role, and trauma-informed response of a team of early childhood mental health clinicians at the University of Maryland immediately following the civil unrest in Baltimore in April 2015.