Coping strategies: barriers to asking for help

20 minutes

Create a safe and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules for the session.

Download the session: Barriers to Asking for Help

In this session we will learn:

  • to recognize there may be stigma and anxiety attached to asking for help  
  • to make sensitive choices about seeking help



Use this session as a starter for “Developing Listening skills”



1.   Ask: Why are some things harder to ask for help about than others? Discuss and list some reasons on the board e.g. Embarrassing, someone will get in trouble etc.

2.   Look at the list of scenarios and ask students to rank them in order from easiest to the hardest to talk about – either as a class or in pairs.

3.   Discuss why they have ranked them in that order. Ask students to think about how we challenge the stigma around asking for help. How do we get help with difficult issues?

4.   Emphasise that there is always someone you can talk to no matter how difficult the issue may be to talk about, or how bad you feel. Remind students of their support network.

5.   Consider specialist services and where you can go for specific problems and different types of support available.

6.   Hand out cards and ask students to write on one side why someone might not want to tell someone about how they are feeling or thinking. E.g. I’m not normal. Why would anyone care? Then collect in and hand out at random and ask students to then write a response on the other side of the card e.g. everyone feels not normal sometimes, find someone who won’t laugh etc. If time share some of these or display these.



What would I do differently as a result of this session?



This session links to: Finding a way forward | My support network | Managing stress | Who are Samaritans

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support