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Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties are a type of special educational need in which children experience difficulties in managing their emotions and behavioural responses. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations, and can experience difficulties in building and maintaining relationships with peers and adults. Children with SEMH may often feel anxious, scared and misunderstood and their behaviour may be a communication that something is not right.
SEMH difficulties may be short or long term and may vary in the way they present to others. For example, a child who has experienced a loss or bereavement may experience SEMH difficulties in a different way to another child who may have a diagnosed SEMH disability such as ADHD, which is a life-long condition. Children may experience SEMH as short periods of feeling unable to cope, or longer periods of low mood with a greater impact on wellbeing. SEMH does not have to necessarily be a lifelong condition. With appropriate support, many children and young people can learn strategies, move forward and live successful lives.
At River Primary School, we value positive mental health for all members of our school community. We have two designated members of Pastoral staff who work with staff and families to ensure positive mental health for children. We are active participants in the Dover district SEMH Champions training which has enabled key staff members to develop skills, knowledge and expertise in supporting children with SEMH difficulties. Our Pastoral Lead is Mrs Prior and our pastoral teaching assistant is Miss Atkins. They undertake direct work with children to support their SEMH difficulties either on a 1:1 basis or within a small group.
The types of commonly occurring SEMH difficulties that may affect primary school children can include:
Further details can be found on the attached document which is our whole school SEMH provision map. This describes some of the difficulties children may experience, who is responsible in school for supporting the child, and our responses.
If you have concerns about your child's social emotional and mental health, please do not hesitate to talk to their class teacher, or speak to Ms Moody or Mrs Prior.
External agencies and support
If we are unable to support children's SEMH needs in school, we work closely with families to signpost or refer to external agencies who have the relevant expertise to support children. These referrals are always completed in discussion with parents/ carers and with parental consent.
NELFT CYPMHS - North East London Foundation Trust Children and Young People's Mental Health Services
(Also known as CAMHS - Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
If we feel your child may benefit from some specialist support, we will consider a referral to NELFT CYPMHS. They provide emotional wellbeing and mental health advice and support for young people and their families across Kent. A referral would be undertaken in consultation with you and only with your consent.
Further information can be found on their website below:
You can contact CYPMHS via telephone or email:
Telephone: 0300 123 4496
Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm
Saturday: 8am - 12noon
The NELFT Mental Health Direct (MHD) team provides additional support out of hours and weekends via telephone advice and triage to Crisis teams. The telephone number is 0300 555 1000.
Early Help and Preventative Services
If you feel that you need some support as a family, we can refer you to Kent County Council's Early Help and Preventative Services who provide support to children, young people and families to help them do well, stay safe and resolve problems at the earliest possible opportunity, before they become serious.
Further information can be found on their website:
Please speak to Mrs Prior, our Pastoral Lead, if you feel a referral to Early Help may be beneficial.