Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs are a type of special educational needs in which children/young people have difficulties in managing or communicating their emotions and behaviour. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations.
This means that they have trouble in building and maintaining relationships with peers and adults; they can also struggle to engage with learning and to cope in classroom without additional strategies and interventions. Children with SEMH will often feel anxious, scared and misunderstood.
Typical characteristics of children with SEMH can vary but could include:-
- Disruptive, antisocial and uncooperative behaviour
- Temper tantrums
- Frustration, anger and verbal and physical threats / aggression
- Withdrawn and depressed attitudes
- Anxiety and stress
Developing Social and Emotional Skills
Social and emotional skills are the skills that help children and young people develop their resilience and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
They are important life skills that support pupils’ ability to cope with and negotiate their way through difficult situations, as well as build positive relationships with their peers and adults.
These skills can improve academic attainment and enhance pupils’ motivation, as well as promote wellbeing and help prevent mental health difficulties from developing.
What are social and emotional skills?
Social and emotional skills help children and young people to:
- identify and manage their feelings and their behaviour, and reach out for help where necessary
- build and manage healthy relationships
- have self-control
- resolve conflict
- be self-aware
- handle and overcome difficulties
- make good decisions
- build resilience, self-esteem and confidence
- think positively about themselves and how they perceive the world around them
- recognise and prevent poor mental health
- grow into well-rounded and healthy adults.