Help-seeking and being hopeful | Resources for Schools |

Section 5: Help-seeking and being hopeful for the future

Section 5: Help-seeking and being hopeful for the future


Monday, 01 March 2021

Supporting young people to identify strengths and supports provides them with a sense of safety within 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 challenges.  Using a strengths-based perspective with young people means focusing on the positives of their circumstances. The approach does not disregard the young person’s difficulties but draws heavily on their expertise and potential to resolve problems.

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Youth mental health and wellbeing toolkit

Help-seeking and being hopeful for the future
Section 5 helps students to think about their strengths. It also supports them to be hopeful about the future, using a strengths-based approach.

You are here.

Learning intentions:

  1. Identifying strengths
  2. Identifying supports
  3. Hopes for the future.


What you’ll find

  • worksheet icon

    6 downloads and worksheets

  • movie camera icon

    4 videos

  • mindmap icon

    3 activities and discussions

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 recently, how they adapted and what this taught them about themselves.

Young people will reflect on:

  • What have I learned about my strengths?
  • How might I use these in the future?
  • What strengths do I want to develop and how can I do this?

Identifying strengths: resources and activities

"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.

strengths statement card

Ask the class to consider the statements on the card 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. What are the benefits of focusing on our strengths?



Strengths list

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?

a list of questions about stengths for young people to print out and answer

Use the complete the sentence activity to encourage young people 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?

Q&A with clinicians


Two Jigsaw clinicians caught up with a Youth Advisory Panel member about identifying strengths.

Play the video in class and see if it helps the young people think about strengths in a different way.

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 to enhance their help-seeking capacity and ability to feel connected. Both of these are important elements in maintaining good mental health.

Young people will reflect on:

  • What exists within me that can support me when times get tough?
  • What exists within my school to support me?
  • What exists online to support me?
  • What exists within my community to support me?

Identifying supports: resources and activities

"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

a diagram of community assets

Community asset mapping is a process of exploring  available mental health supports that exist in a community. This process is a useful way that young people can become more aware of  local supports and strengths. 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.

Who can help?

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.

A still of Sarah a teenager girl in the video who can help

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.

Young people will reflect on:

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

Hopes for the future: resources and activities

a board for writing hopes for the future

Ask the class to write words or doodle images that they associate with their ideal future.
Why is it important to have dreams and hopes for the future?



Hopes timeline


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.


Reflective practice

After delivering the resources from this section, consider some of the following questions to help consolidate your learning.

  • How did you feel before this lesson? (e.g. nervous, prepared, confident, etc.) What influenced how you were feeling in advance of this lesson? Did this have any impact on the lesson?
  • What was the most successful part of this lesson, and why? What learning could you utilise in the future when delivering resources from this toolkit as part of a mental health and wellbeing lesson?
  • How did you know the young people were interested and engaged during the lesson?
  • Did any challenges arise during the lesson? If yes, why did they arise? How did you address the challenges you encountered and were you satisfied with how you managed the challenges? Is any further follow-up required?
  • In terms of using the resources provided in the youth mental health and wellbeing toolkit, what are your next steps?

Download this reflection exercise

Support documents

You have reached the end of the Introduction to youth mental health and wellbeing toolkit. We hope that you found the resources, activities and guidance useful and that it supported your young people to learn more about mental health and wellbeing.

Why not encourage your young people to explore for other information and support in relation to youth mental health and wellbeing?

As a member of school staff, you may want to explore our elearning options or share our parent section with your school community.

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