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Social, emotional and mental health needs for children

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Find out about social, emotional and mental health needs, what to do if you're worried about your child and what support is available for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

What are social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs?

SEMH needs are a type of special educational needs where children and young people find it difficult to manage their emotions and behaviour.

Children or young people with SEMH needs may:

  • Have anxiety or low moods
  • Appear as withdrawn
  • Find it difficult to attend school or engage with learning
  • Feel scared, nervous or misunderstood
  • Find it difficult to express their emotions or control their emotions
  • Experience difficulty building and maintaining relationships
  • Have difficulty understanding social situations and may show inappropriate responses to situations
  • Display disruptive, antisocial, uncooperative or aggressive behaviour
  • Engage in stealing, truancy, vandalism or drugs

What should I do if I'm concerned about my child's SEMH needs?

If you're concerned about your child’s behaviour, you should:

  • Contact your GP or health visitor - they're experienced in child development and ca​n refer you to the right services.  Find contact details for your local health service
  • Talk to your child's school - they can make a referral for your child to attend services that offer support and advice regarding children and young people with SEMH needs.

How do we support SEMH in schools?

Our Early Help and Schools Inclusion Team and our Educational Psychology Service work with schools in the borough to support children and young people with additional needs and their families. You can view the services provided by these teams in the sections below.

How can my child access SEMH support? Please speak to your child's school if you're interested in these SEMH services. Find contact details for your child's school to discuss SEMH support

Services provided by the Early Help and Schools Inclusion Team

We work with schools to improve their capacity to manage the social, emotional and behavioural needs of all pupils. We do this by:

  • Supporting schools to put into practice national and local initiatives for pupil attendance, behaviour and mental wellbeing.
  • Offering advice and support for teachers to help them meet the needs of a child with unusual or particularly challenging behaviours.
  • Linking with other strategies such as anti-bullying, transition, prevention of exclusions and antisocial behaviour.

Services provided by Rochdale Educational Psychology Service

We support schools, families and children by applying psychology to improve outcomes for pupils and schools at the individual and big picture level. We do this by:

  • Offering a consultation service for schools - staff and parents or carers explore the child's issues together and develop a plan of action. This may involve setting up initial strategies and targets, planning interventions and gathering together information about the child's needs.
  • Making assessments of a child or young person's needs. We're also involved in the Educational, Health and Care (EHC) assessment process.
  • Offering group work at schools, usually 6-8 sessions. Types of group work include:
    • Supporting staff to help make all children feel valued and important through approaches such as 'circle of friends' and Lego therapy.
    • Using psychological techniques with small groups of pupils, alongside staff, such as cognitive behavioural Therapy (CBT), solution-focused brief therapy, working with selective mutism and mindfulness to support anxious pupils.
  • Training all school staff on topics such as autistic spectrum condition, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attachment, behaviour management, dyslexia and dyscalculia, exam stress and supporting children and young people through bereavement and loss. Training courses can be individualised to meet the schools needs.


​01706 926400

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.45pm.

Educational Psychology Service
Early Help and Schools
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU