We all have mental health. Mental health can change and fluctuate depending on circumstances and experiences. The World Health Organisation describes emotional and mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively… and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.
When we talk about children and young people having ‘emotional and mental health needs’, we usually mean children and young people who do not feel they can cope with life and/or enjoy things, and who may not be able to achieve their potential in learning and developing. The SEN Code of Practice 2015 also adds the word ‘social’ to this definition, to include that sometimes feelings and behaviours in children and young people are linked to their ‘social’ life: what’s going on in their family, with their friends, and in the community they live in.