Helping my friends

20 minutes

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

Download the session: Helping My Friends


This session can be used as a starter for ‘My support network’ and ‘self-harm’ sessions. 

In this session we will learn:

  • to identify when friends need help
  • to identify the thoughts and feelings of someone who is feeling low
  • to identify agencies that can help




Digital resources

Supporting a friend audio (Youtube, download mp4)



  1. Today’s session will focus on how we respond to someone who is down and may need help. If we don’t know how someone is feeling we can’t be sure how to support them.
  2. With students in pairs give out role cards. A is the role on the card and B starts the conversation, for example – B: How are you? A: I’m ok thanks…
  3. Continue with your conversation as it would happen outside of class.
  4. Discuss how did this go? Did anyone find out what was really going on for the character?
  5. Hand out hint cards and swap scenarios with another pair, also swapping roles so everyone has a turn at asking. A now asks and B responds. Play out using the hint cards to help. Allow a few minutes.
  6. In pairs hand out the ‘what if’ list. Half of the class work from the top, half from the bottom. Think about what they would do and discuss ideas and work on another ‘what if...’
  7. Discuss as a class. Are there any general rules for all of these? Write down the top tips.

Note Sometimes, a loss or change in someone’s life may make it difficult for them to cope – they may even have thoughts of suicide. This can be a sensitive topic so please talk to someone if you are worried about yourself or someone else. Remind the students about who is available to talk to them in school and out of school, using the information slide. Sometimes we have to go on our instincts when we think others may need help or support. Many people feel shame or shyness about asking for help and try to cope alone. Many people suffer from depression and may not realise that help is available.

Add anything else to the students support networks, noting all the support they have available in school, in their home, and in the wider community.



  • How would I know if I needed help in being a supportive friend?
  • Do I have the confidence to support a friend?
  • Do I need to ask for more information?
  • How does it feel to be asked for help?

Remind the class of REG (Link to PDF ‘Notes for teachers’). You may not know what to do to help but sometimes just being there is all that is needed.


Links and Learning Journeys

This session links to: My support network Managing stress | Finding a way forward | Positive thinking | Expressing feelings | Building resilience

It is also part of a suggested learning journey:

Learning journey: stress: What is emotional health | My support network | Let it out Exam stress (short) Talking helps: it’s hard to say (short) | Coping with changes

Learning journey: accessing support: Ups and downs of the day | My support network Developing listening skills | Barriers to seeking help | Making assumptions (short) | Helping my friends

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