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Social, Emotional and Mental Health

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or distressing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance abuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, hyperactive and inattentive) or an attachment disorder.


     Children and young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties may display passive behaviours such as:

  • 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  • Being withdrawn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


    Children and young people with social, emotional or mental health difficulties may display active behaviours such as:

  • 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