This section on mental health needs focuses on those children who have already become mentally unwell, have a condition such as autism or hyperactivity which may impair their ability to thrive and learn without further support or adjustment being made by schools, or are on the threshold of being mentally unwell.

It includes information on the different conditions that might affect children, the behaviours that school staff might see that could indicate a child is struggling, and the strategies that school staff can employ to support them.

Learn more

Attachment and child development

Attachment refers to a relationship bond between a child or young person and their primary caregiver which is formed in the early years and has a long-term impact on a child’s sense of self, development, growth and future relationships with others.

Find out more

Autistic spectrum

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how someone communicates with and relates to other people and how they experience the world around them.

Find out more

Bereavement and loss

Grief is a natural response to the death or loss of someone close.

Find out more

Challenging behaviours

Many children go through phases of challenging behaviour. Most move out of them as school staff help them settle into school routines. Some children though get stuck in patterns of challenging behaviour and struggle to develop strategies they can use to calm themselves down.

Find out more

Eating problems

Many children go through phases of refusing to eat, being ‘faddy or fussy’ eaters, or having other eating problems.

Find out more

Obsessive-compulsive behaviour

Children with obsessive compulsive behaviour (commonly known as OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder) have repeating thoughts, images or feelings that are distressing. They also carry out rituals or habits (compulsions) to temporarily feel better.

Find out more

Overactivity and poor concentration

All children may experience problems with concentration and hyperactivity but when these are persistent and/or severe, children may need additional support to maximise their chances of learning and developing effectively.

Find out more

Self-harm

Self-harm is when a child intentionally damages or hurts their body. It can become addictive because of the natural pain-relieving endorphins that are released when people hurt themselves, which can give a temporary sense of relief.

Find out more

Anxiety

It’s quite natural for children to worry and to be anxious at various stages of school and home life.

Find out more