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Social Emotional Mental Health

Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties are a type of special educational need in which children experience difficulties in managing their emotions and behavioural responses. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations, and can experience difficulties in building and maintaining relationships with peers and adults. Children with SEMH may often feel anxious, scared and misunderstood and their behaviour may be a communication that something is not right.


SEMH difficulties may be short or long term and may vary in the way they present to others. For example, a child who has experienced a loss or bereavement may experience SEMH difficulties in a different way to another child who may have a diagnosed SEMH disability such as ADHD, which is a life-long condition. Children may experience SEMH as short periods of feeling unable to cope, or longer periods of low mood with a greater impact on wellbeing. SEMH does not have to necessarily be a lifelong condition. With appropriate support, many children and young people can learn strategies, move forward and live successful lives.


At St Peter's First School, we value positive mental health for all members of our school community. We have designated members of our Wellbeing team who work with staff and families to ensure positive mental health for children. Our wellbeing team have had a range of training to target various areas of need. They undertake direct work with children to support their SEMH difficulties either on a 1:1 basis or within a small group.


The types of commonly occurring SEMH difficulties that may affect primary school children can include:


  • Anxiety
  • Emotional regulation
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/ Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder
  • Divorce or separation
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Attachment difficulties
  • Persistent low mood
  • Self harm
  • Eating disorders


Further details can be found on the attached document which is our whole school SEMH provision map. This describes some of the difficulties children may experience, who is responsible in school for supporting the child, and our responses.

Whole school SEMH provision map

If you have concerns about your child's social emotional and mental health, please do not hesitate to talk to their class teacher, or speak to Ms Jones or Mrs White. 


External agencies and support

If we are unable to support children's SEMH needs in school, we work closely with families to signpost or refer to external agencies who have the relevant expertise to support children. These referrals are always completed in discussion with parents/ carers and with parental consent.