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Significant Findings: Poverty significantly impacts children's mental, physical, and cognitive development, especially during the first five years of life. Children of color living in poverty face higher risk factors, impeded self-regulation abilities, prejudice, and discrimination associated with seeking and obtaining mental health treatment. The stigma and obstacles in accessing treatment, particularly for underrepresented groups, are significant issues in Orlando, FL. Prevention starts with utilizing theories such as the Health Belief Model (HBM) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), which deepen the understanding of how personal, environmental, and human behavior influence each other in an ongoing process. Collaboration and advocacy efforts between mental health professionals, schools, and local community organizations are necessary to address treatment-related bias and discrimination. Culturally appropriate evidence-based programs, such as the Tripple P (Positive Parenting Program) system, aim to de-stigmatize asking for parenting advice, empower parents, and validate positive parenting concepts. It is a hybrid approach combining universal and customized components, beneficial in diverse cultures. Adopting it can reduce child maltreatment and minimize stigma (Baumann et al.,2016; Foster et al., 2008; Prinz et al., 2016).

Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: The objective is to prevent mental health illnesses associated with poverty by providing interventions that will strengthen the relationships and well-being of children and families of color, improve engagement, and promote awareness of barriers associated with mental health. Raising awareness and eradicating stigma requires an understanding of the stigma associated with mental health concerns among children of color living in poverty. The Health Belief Model (HBM) can assist in recognizing and addressing personal perspectives regarding health risks, the advantages of avoiding them, and the variables that influence decision-making (National Cancer Institute, 2005). If parents feel that their actions will significantly impact, are easily affected, and be worth the expense, they might be more inclined to take action. Potential change strategies include defining danger levels, adjusting culturally sensitive information, evaluating mental health risks, outlining mitigation strategies, offering rewards for reassurance, clearing up misconceptions, teaching, setting incremental goals, encouraging verbally, and modeling desired behaviors (National Cancer Institute, 2005). Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) helps us understand how social environments interact and impact interpersonal relationships. High self-efficacy can lead to change in health practices, allowing individuals to think they have control over their environment. Strategies for change include mastery learning, modeling healthy behavior, small steps, and self-initiated rewards (National Cancer Institute, 2005). Community organizing addresses health issues by combining personal, environmental, and human behavior concerns with ecological perspectives. Recognizing ethnic or cultural diversity is crucial for empowering positive mental health initiatives. To increase the cultural relevance of preventive programs, this population needs culturally appropriate and competent services in advocacy, prevention, and outreach (Ofenedu et al., 2017; Reese & Vera, 2007). Therefore, the next step of this process is advocacy. It seeks to educate and raise awareness among people to enable them to utilize their voices to confront systemic barriers. The intention is to lessen prejudice and support families in order to assist children in overcoming mental health challenges. Counselors need to be aware of their clients' worldviews and cultural backgrounds in order to comprehend the impact of obstacles to receiving mental health care. According to the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC), 2015, and the ACA Advocacy Competencies, 2018, advocacy can be seen at the institutional, community, and public policy levels. At the micro, meso, and macro levels, the Center of Excellence Infant & Early Childhood Mental Consultation can assist in overcoming these obstacles through education (IECMHC, n.d.). The goal is to increase access to evidence-based mental health consultation to support the next generation (SAMHSA, n.d.). As a result, knowledge has power, and community representation is paramount.