Knowing when to get support

15-20 minutes

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

This session can be used as a starter for ‘Talking about depression’, ‘My support network’ or ‘Finding a way forward’ sessions.

Download the session Knowing When to get Support

In this session we will learn

  • to recognise when feelings become difficult to cope with
  • what you can do to help yourself and others



  • Jenga/building blocks.


Key message: it’s important to recognise when we or someone else needs help. Even if the issue may seem to be small, if we are finding it difficult to cope we need to talk to someone.



1. Ask students to think about and list the signs and symptoms that might show that a person needs support; in other words, if the ‘seesaw of life’ for them is not moving, but staying down. Emphasise we might all show some of these signs at times, sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly and it’s important to recognise when we need support.

2. Sort students into small groups and give them the name of a character and some jenga or building blocks. Explain that they will be thinking of things that might ‘get on top’ of someone or things that they may find it difficult to cope with if they are feeling low. Each student then adds a block or brick to the pile, giving a suggestion – adding bricks until it all comes tumbling down.

3. Explain that it can be big or small things that can affect us and the slightest thing that goes wrong in our lives can leave us feeling like we can’t cope. It’s important to know when we need help sorting our bricks out. Ask students to take a brick or block away and say something that could offer support or help with that brick. Make sure all students know where support is available in and out of school.



  • How would I know if I needed support?
  • Who can I go to for support?



This session links to: What is emotional health? | Finding a way forward | Talking about depression | My support network | Coping with changes | Barriers to seeking help

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