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10-15 minutes




Index cards


To encourage support seeking, which is an important skill for personal resiliency

Provide rationale for the practice (refer to the ‘Evidence’ section)


  • What are some positive stress management ideas?
  • Who can potentially be helpful/supportive people in your life? In your school? In your community?
  • When would you ask for support from a friend and when should you seek the support of an adult?

Ask students to:

  • Identify two strategies and two people that can help them manage stress.
  • On a wallet sized card, write two strategies on one side of the card and two people on the flipside of the card.
  • Add the Kids Help Phone number and/or website.

NOTE: If you notice students who are struggling with the practice, consider approaching students individually to brainstorm. Recognize that building trust take time.

Check-in with the students on a regular basis to reflect on the usefulness of their selected practices, keep the concept of a “help card” active and to ensure the information listed is still current.

  • Discuss with students that the first step is to know who to reach out to, the next step is to know how to ask for help. Brainstorm with students some ideas on how to ask for help (e.g. “I’m not feeling good.  Do you have a few minutes to talk?”).
  • Put up posters around the school (back of bathroom stalls also), of people that students can access for help in their school.Ensure that they are culturally diverse.
  • Students can create a stress buster bulletin board to showcase community resources, in school supports and positive stress management ideas. This could include posting ideas on Post-it Notes for students to take as needed.

Students may feel stressed and overwhelmed without realizing it or may be aware of these feelings but unsure of what to do to manage these feelings. Normalizing stress through psychoeducation can reduce the impact of stress on well-being and development (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008; Van Daele, Hermans, Van Audenhove, & Van den Bergh, 2012). Sharing strategies in the classroom helps model that we all need to develop the coping skills that will allow us to be resilient in the face of stress.

Barker, G. (2007) Adolescents, social support and help-seeking behaviour: An international literature review and programme consultation with recommendations for action. World Health Organization Discussion Papers on Adolescence. Geneva: WHO.

Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review, 21(2), 141-170.

McNeely, C., & Falci, C. (2004). School connectedness and the transition into and out of health-risk behavior among adolescents: A comparison of social belonging and teacher support. The Journal of School Health, 74(7), 284-92.

Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of educational research, 81(4), 493-529.