Useful Links

Useful Links

Area of need-Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties

In the UK, the category of social, emotional, and mental health difficulties (SEMH) was brought in to replace behavioural, social, and emotional difficulties (BESD). For many children their behaviour may be a result of these of underlying factors. The iceberg model shows five domains which can contribute to unexpected behaviour in a child. This behaviour should be regarded as communication, and a clue that something is not right. For this reason, the word 'behaviour' was removed to encourage professionals to focus on the underlying issues. A reward and sanction system may help address the behaviour, but does little to address the reasons for it.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a common condition characterised by difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour (impulsiveness), and hyperactivity (over-activity). It is a lifelong condition, but adults can learn to regulate the characteristics. Children may fall into one of three sub-types of ADHD:

  • Predominantly inattentive type
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type
  • Combined inattention and hyperactive impulsive type

People tend to focus on the hyperactivity aspects of ADHD. However, there are many aspects of learning that can be affected by the condition, as shown in the image below.



Watch the video to hear the experiences of someone with the inattentive type.



There are wide-ranging social and emotional factors that can have short- and long-term impact on a child's mental health. Schools are generally well-equipped to deal with short-term issues, such as the death of a pet. Persistent or accumulative issues and high-impact events can have significant long-term effects on a child's mental health. These may manifest themselves in a number of ways; examples are shown below:

Passive Behaviours:

  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Being withdrawn
  • Avoiding risks
  • Unable to make choices
  • Low self-worth
  • Isolated
  • Refusing to accept praise
  • Failure to engage
  • Poor personal presentation
  • Lethargy/apathy
  • Daydreaming
  • Unable to make and maintain friendships
  • Speech anxiety/ reluctance to speak
  • Task avoidance

Active Behaviours:

    • Challenging behaviours
    • Restlessness/over-activity
    • Non-compliance
    • Mood swings
    • Impulsivity
    • Physical aggression
    • Verbal aggression
    • Perceived injustices
    • Disproportionate reactions to situations
    • Difficulties with change/transitions
    • Absconding
    • Eating issues
    • Lack of empathy
    • Lack of personal boundaries
    • Poor awareness of personal space