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Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) support

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 Difficulties may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. 

Behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as: 

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Self-harming
  • Substance misuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Physical symptoms that are medically unexplained 

Other children and young people may have disorders such as: 

  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
  • Attachment disorder

Visit Contact website for further information on these disorders.

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. 

Guidance on managing pupils’ Mental health and behaviour in schools published by the Department for Education. 

Special educational provision expected for social, emotional and mental health difficulties

Our SEN Support Guidance: provision expected at SEN Support (pdf) makes clear the special educational provision we expect from education providers. It covers:

Find support services for social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH)

Education providers sometimes need to commission a specialist service, for advice about how best to support a learner who has a complexity of social, emotional and mental health needs. 

Education providers might also commission specialist provision or support for learners who have more complex special educational needs.

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