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Social, Emotional and Mental Health Challenges

Since the new SEND Code of Practice (2014), the term social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs has superseded the terms emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD), behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD).

SEMH is a broad label and many types of behaviour can fall under this category.  What is important to remember is that one must always focus on the specific causes of the behaviour.  Sometimes another SEN can give rise to SEMH, such as anxiety or ADHD.  Students with SEMH can have temporary or long-term difficulties in learning.

Some indications of SEMH to be aware of:

  • Reduced interest in attending school
  • Change in behaviour and ‘acting out’ in the classroom
  • Change in physical appearance and lack of personal care
  • Appearing isolated and change or loss of friends

The idea of promoting emotional well-being in schools is growing and is well aligned with our philosophy.  Emergency mental resources are also being provided in some schools. 

Addressing SEMH effectively takes interaction from all parties in the student’s environment, and a tutor represents another opportunity to help provide stability and support during the student’s learning process. Most importantly, these students need non-judgemental support and genuine acknowledgement, as per The Bright Heart Approach 

How our tutors approach students with social, emotional and mental health challenges

We have some very experienced tutors for helping students with these challenges. Our tutors are provided with detailed information about the student following a consultation. Tutors aim to understand the environment the student is operating in and the current factors affecting emotional and mental health. While tutors do not perform professional therapy during the lesson, this background is important to be sensitive and understanding, while providing a warm, safe space. Sometimes positive engagement can take a few lessons, depending on where the student is in their own process. Our tutors are patient and aware of this journey. Once rapport and engagement increases, academic focus can be increased.