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tough times


Why was the tough times toolkit developed?

Many health professionals, teachers, parents and youth workers do not feel confident or qualified enough to talk about difficult subjects such as mental health with young people. Often, they worry about saying the wrong thing, or accidentally ‘making things worse’.


The Tough Times Toolkit has been designed to support those who work with young people to engage in better conversations around mental health, and feel reassured that they are not saying ‘anything wrong’.

How do i use the tough times toolkit?

It has been designed by health professionals as a conversation aid and based on the ‘Resilience Framework’ – a set of ideas and practices developed by a psychologist and psychiatrist which provides a structure for promoting emotional resilience in children and young people.

It features six short sections of suggested conversational questions and prompts which can help get to the root of any problems a young person might be experiencing, as well as an informal risk assessment. It also includes ideas for strategies that an adult may want to suggest to a young person to try and help them manage strong emotions, and finished with a page for an action plan going forward.

The Toolkit also comes with a small postcard which is to be given to the young person to use during the conversation, as a distraction, something to tear up, fiddle with or scribble on. It contains words to encourage them to describe their emotions, ideas for an emotion first aid kit, and room for them to write down thoughts if they want to do so.

Who can use the tough times toolkit?

The Tough Times Toolkit can be used by anyone, no matter what background or qualifications, to promote better communication and early intervention for young people with emerging mental health issues.

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