What are social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH)?

Social, emotional and mental health needs are a type of special educational needs in which children/ young people have severe difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations.

This means that they can have trouble in building and maintaining relationships with peers and adults; they can also struggle to engage in learning and to cope in the classroom without additional strategies and interventions.  Children with SEMH will often feel anxious, scared and misunderstood.

Typical characteristics of children with SEMH can include –

  • Disruptive, antisocial and uncooperative behaviour
  • Temper tantrums
  • Frustration, anger and verbal and physical threats/aggression
  • Withdrawn and depressed attitudes
  • Anxiety/ self-harm
  • Stealing
  • Truancy
  • Vandalism
  • Drug abuse
  • Setting fires

SEMH does not have to be a lifelong condition. With appropriate support, children and young people can move forward and live successful lives.

Support Services and Information


Enjoy these (click here) free therapist-designed resources that share empowering skills with children!


Kooth is a FREE web based confidential support service available to young people. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people.

Kooth offers young people the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor. Counsellors are available from 12noon to 10pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours’ young people can message our team and get support by the next day.

When students register with Kooth they will have support available to them now and in the future. Support can be gained not only through counselling but articles, forums and discussion boards. All content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.

For instructions on how to sign up, click here.

Book of Beasties

Book of Beasties is a psychologist-endorsed early intervention card game for schools and parents that aspires to raise emotional literacy, teach empathy, resilience and normalise the open conversation about mental health, whilst practicing alternative simple exercises to help cope should issues arise.


HomeMental Health Foundation

Covid Response Programme. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of people all over the country but people who already experience inequality have been far more adversely affected. 


Time To ChangeTime To Change | let's end mental health discrimination

Personal stories about why attitudes and behaviours towards mental health problems matter.


Teen Mental Health – A Guide for Parents - MyTutor

Your child’s teenage years are an exciting time, but they can be tricky too. With hormones going wild and bigger pressures at school, challenging mood swings are par for the course. With mental ill-health on the rise though, you’ll want...


Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.

Apps to download to help with breathing and relaxing

Headspace app: Meditation and Sleep Made Simple

Calm app : Meditation and Sleep

Stop, breathe and think app : Mindfulness journey

Websites to help

Young minds – a charity that advocates for young people’s mental health.

NHS – The NHS will help you find Mental Health services in your area.

Childline – A counselling service for young people up to the age of 19 years - Resources aimed at support children with autism develop essential life skills such as personal hygiene, self-care, safety, managing work and leisure activities.

National Sleep Helpline – The national sleep helpline can help with your sleep problems. 7pm-9pm Sunday to Thursday. 03303 53054.

Kooth – An online mental health community for young people.

Students in Year 10 and Year 11 may need some support and help with their exam stress. Please visit the following sites for support advise. - Dealing with exam stress/revision tips - Exam stress and  revision tips - Help your child beat exam stress - Coping with exam stress and pressure.  Tips for staying calm.

Red Cross Resources

Learning Support Assistant

Ms S Wright