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What is Social, Emotional and Mental Health?

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (MESH) is the area of health that includes the ability to express needs, wants and emotions in a positive way, manage anger and conflict and deal appropriately with frustrations. It involves practicing life skills, making responsible decisions, developing good character, following a plan to manage stress and being resilient during difficult times.

Examples of Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs, which are listed in the SEND Code of Practice, include:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Self-harming and substance misuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Attachment disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder

How do we implement this within the school?

At Rabbsfarm Primary School we support children’s MESH needs in a number of ways as they are a key component of children’s healthy development and critical in learning and meeting developmental milestones. 

High Quality Teaching

At Rabbsfarm we have a clear process in how we support children social-emotional difficulties in class, including how we manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour. All staff has had training on how to support MESH in the classroom, for instance training on anxiety and attachment, Driekurs behavioural model and Zones of Regulation, ensuring all staff use consistent language and can effectively support children’s MESH needs.

All classrooms are equipped with resources to support MESH, such as Zones of Regulation posters so children and staff can use visuals to support how children are feeling and regulate themselves in an appropriate way.

Targeted Support

If a child is having difficulty with their social, emotional and mental health we provide early support by working with teachers to develop personalised strategies in class. This may include behavioural charts, sensory tool support, supporting classroom peer relationships and strategies to reduce anxiety.

We run a number of evidenced-based groups with children to support MESH:

Mindful Attention Programme (MAP):
At the school we run an eight week course for children, which was developed by  Jeremy Morris, an Education Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Mindfulness is simply a method of being more aware of what is happening in the present moment, with openness and attention, to see things as they are. This skill enables us to recognise when we are feeling upset or uneasy and this awareness allows us to choose how to respond positively and replace harmful ways of reacting with beneficial ways of responding.

Zones of Regulation:
This resource was developed by Leah Kuypers, an occupational therapist, to help children gain skills in emotional and behavioural regulation. Children categorise feelings, facial expressions, emotional terms and behaviours into different ‘zones’ so they can learn how to recognise when they are (and others are) in  different zones. Children learn problem solving, alerting and calming strategies to regulate themselves effectively. They also learn perspective taking skills and understand how others see and react to behaviour. 

Individualised Support

Some children need more individualised and personal support on a 1:1 basis. All the groups listed in targeted support can be and are used on an individual level. Support packages may pool together different resources at this level and recommendations may come from an Educational Psychologist to target the specific needs of the child. 

Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine (Diana Crossley): 
This is an activity book that a child can work through when someone close to  them has died. It offers sensitive, practical support for children providing a range of interesting and engaging activities to
allow them to make sense of the different emotions that they are experiencing. It not only allows children  to greater understand what they are going through but creates a book that the children can have as a keepsake to remember happier times with the special person that they have lost.

Think Good-Feel Good:
This resource was developed by Dr Paul Stallard, who is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Child and Family Mental Health. It supports children with a range of MESH difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social phobias. Think Good-Feel Good is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and provides a number of practical ideas and resources to support children’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

How can I support at home?

If you think your child might need help with their social, emotional and mental health needs at home you can support them in the following ways:

  • Recognise when your child may be anxious, worried stressed or experiencing other MESH difficulties to see what triggers this behaviour (please see image on how to spot anxiety)
  • You can model on yourself about how you feel and how to address it “I am feeling stressed because… I think what would help me is…”
  • Anxiety is contagious so try to be calm, consistent and highlight positives
  • Providing warmth makes others feel secure and it is important to be understanding and reassuring
  • Try to challenge anxious or negative thinking that the child may be having in a supportive coaching way. For instance by asking “What is your evidence for that?”, “will it always be like that?”, “Are there   any other explanations?” and “What is the worst that could happen?”
  • Using worry diaries at home consistently and at a set time
  • Listening to relaxing music or meditations, such as that from mindfulness

Useful links:

This link from the NHS explores strategies on how to support a child with anxiety: 


This link is for Youth Access, which is an advice and counselling network: 



This link is for Hillingdon Mind who work closely with members of the community and offer a variety of support: 



This link is the Family Information Directory for Hillingdon and outlines a variety of support which can be offered for your family and children:




If you would like any further information on the MESH support we offer, please contact
Sara Daly, the schools SENCo, on 

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