Help-seeking | Resources for Schools | Jigsaw

Section 3: Help-seeking and being hopeful for the future

Section 3: Help-seeking and being hopeful for the future


Sunday, 01 September 2019

Supporting young people to identify strengths and supports is an important way of providing them with a sense of safety in themselves and in their community. 

Strengths-based work is a way of helping young people to feel hopeful about the future and their ability to manage future challenges.  Using a strengths-based perspective with young people means focusing on the positives of the young person’s circumstances. The approach does not disregard the young person’s difficulties but it draws heavily on the young person’s expertise and potential to resolve their own problems.

clinician delivering a workshop

Identifying strengths

This section will support young people to identify their personal strengths and attributes, by encouraging them to think about their personal characteristics. It will also help them explore what they found difficult about the past few months, how they adapted and what this taught them about themselves.

The students will reflect on:

  • What have I learned about my strengths and how might I use these in the future? What strengths do I want to develop and how can I do this?
illustration of a magnifying glass

"We should focus on what is strong, not on what is wrong."


Give the class a few minutes to consider if they mostly agree or mostly disagree with this statement. Ask for feedback.

What is a strengths-based perspective?


Ask the class to consider the statements on the cards and if  they mostly agree or mostly disagree with them. These statements form the basis of a strengths-based perspective in life.

Use the class responses to encourage a class discussion on having a strengths-based perspective.

Knowing my strengths

Knowing who we are and what our strengths are is an important way of feeling able to cope with current and future challenges. When we acknowledge our own skills, qualities and values, we become more aware of what we have within us that can help us overcome challenges and reach goals. This resource will support young people to reflect on their strengths.

Provide the class with the Knowing my strengths handout.

Ask them to colour or tick which ones apply to them and add their own.

Reflection: Did they find this exercise easy or difficult?

Why might that have been?

Using my strengths in challenging times


Use this Complete the sentence activity to encourage young people to think about how the last few months have been tough. Ask them to think about how they used their strengths and supports to get through challenging times?

Encourage the class to consider: What did they learn about themselves? How can this help them in the future? What continues to be tough? What might help them?

Identifying supports

A key principle of the strengths-based perspective is to examine what assets and resources the young person has within themselves and their environment in order to enhance their help-seeking capacity and ability to feel connected to their environment. Both of these are important elements in maintaining good mental health.

The students will reflect on:

  • What exists within me? What exists within my school to support me? What exists online to support me? What exists within my community to support me?

"There is always someone who can help"

Give the class a few minutes to consider if they mostly agree or mostly disagree with this statement.

Ask for feedback. 

three young people sitting and laughing on steps

Asset mapping: using IT and creative skills

This activity will help young people to explore what supports exist within their environment.

Drawing on previous discussions, ask the class to think about what inner strengths they have that can support them when times get tough? What skills have they learned that can help?

Young people can discuss what supports exist within their school, their community and online. Working together, or individually, they can research what is available when times get tough or there to help them to grow and develop. Encourage the class to be creative in how they record and present their results.

Combine all their findings into a wall display if possible.

To encourage young people to see the practical application of their asset map, use these ‘who can help’ scenarios. Ask the class to decide where the young people in the scenarios might go for help.

Discuss their ideas.

teenage boy on his phone in bed at night

Hopes for the future

A strengths-based perspective takes hopes and dreams seriously and believes in the capacity of everyone to grow and develop. These activities will support young people to dream big, think about their hopes for themselves, their school and their community.

The students will reflect on:

  • What are my hopes for the future – for myself, for my school, for my community?


Ask the class to write words or doodle images that they associate with their ideal future. Get them to give feedback.

Prompt questions: why is it important to have dreams and hopes for the future?


Use the hopes timeline to support the class to imagine their ideal outcomes for themselves over the next five years. Ask them to also think about ideal outcomes for their school and their community.

Encourage them to dream big and to think of ways that they can contribute to these outcomes.


signpost illustration


We hope that you enjoyed using our resources with your young people and that both you and your class found them useful. If you would like to give us any feedback, fill in the form below to help us with any further developments.

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