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Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties that manifest in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated and displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour.

These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harm, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils.

The Department for Education publishes guidance on managing pupils’ mental health and behaviour difficulties in schools – see the References section under Chapter 6 for a link.


What is Mental Health?

Sometimes used as a synonym for ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’, mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Being on top of our mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health. Everybody has mental health needs, and we need to take care of them to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

Good mental health means thinking, feeling and reacting in the ways you need and want to live your life. This is more challenging than it sounds, as we all have times when we feel down, stressed or anxious. Most of the time, however, those feelings pass.

But for 1 in 4 people, they can develop into something more serious.

What do early signs of a Mental Health problem look like?
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Having intrusive thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
Where can I get help if I think I, or one of my friends, have a Mental Health problem?

You can ask to see any Assistant Headteacher, SENDCO, Deputy Headteacher or Headteacher. They will listen to your concerns and then advise you on where to get help. 

Other advice lines:

Child Line: Whatever your worry, Childline can help you. Get in touch with a call at 0800 1111.

Samaritans: If you need someone to talk to, we listen. We won’t judge or tell you what to do. Call us any time, day or night. Whatever you’re going through, you can call us any time, from any phone, for FREE at 116 123.

Young Minds: We offer helpful mental health information for young people and their parents or carers. Young Minds web link


Useful Mobile phone apps:

Smiling Mind

A meditation program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring mindfulness into your life.

Stop Breathe Think

Check in with your feelings and try short activities tuned to your emotions.


A meditation app that acts as a personal guide to health and happiness.

Chill Panda

Chill Panda helps children better understand their stress and shows them ways to feel better using breathing techniques, yoga, exercise and calming games.

Calm Harm

Calm Harm is an app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. It’s private and password protected.

Catch It

Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression with Catch It. The app will teach you how to look at problems in a different way, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve your mental wellbeing.

My Positive Self

Take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour with the My Possible Self mental health app. Use the simple learning modules to manage fear, anxiety and stress and tackle unhelpful thinking. Record your experiences and track symptoms to understand your mental health better.

Stress and Anxiety Companion

Stress & Anxiety Companion helps you handle stress and anxiety on the go. Using breathing exercises, relaxing music and games designed to calm the mind, the app helps you change negative thoughts to help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.


See attachments below for tips on how to support regulation and SEMH in children: