There are six areas in our lives where we can promote resilience. Two tools have been developed to assess a young person’s resilience, a Self-Reflection tool (DOCX, 58.0 KB) and a Resilience Conversation tool (DOCX, 2.3 MB).

Both tools are available to download and are available for use by all practitioners. Training is available on both the use of the tools, and the theoretical background.

As part of our Resilience Conversation Talk Kit, you can access both of the tools, detailed guidance on how to use these tools including the processes following a Resilience Conversation, and a quick reference flow diagram for each tool.

Easy read documents

Self-Reflection Tool

The Self-Reflection tool (DOCX, 58.0 KB) has been designed to encourage young people to think about their own areas of resilience, and to guide school staff and practitioners as to which young people may benefit from a conversation about building resilience. The Self-Reflection tool consists of a range of questions, for which young people can respond: Usually, Sometimes, Rarely and Not Sure.

This tool can be used at any time during the school day. Schools that have used the self-assessment have said that it can work well during form time – with the whole form completing a self-assessment at the start and beginning of term, enabling tutors to see how a student is progressing, and then where required a follow up conversation with the young person should take place. Additionally, schools have used this as a tool to help the young person collect their thoughts following an incident, and then to assist the staff member to identify through a conversation with the young person if there is something else contributing to behaviours being displayed in school.

Having a Resilience Conversation

The Resilience Conversation Tool (DOCX, 2.3 MB) has been designed for use to enable a more in-depth conversation. Using the wheel diagram, young people will consider all the areas of resilience, with consideration for themselves, their family, significant others and the wider community.

Although it is welcomed that within the wheel these areas are RAG (read, amber, green) rated, young people have said that for this tool to be something they can reflect on, it is encouraged that notes from the conversation are added to the wheel.

This tool can be used as part of the initial meeting with a young person. It will aid you in getting to know the young person, and as it provides focus, the young person may feel more open to discussion, and can pull out the areas that they feel confident about.

Here are some tips on getting started when having a Resilience Conversation with a young person:

  • The Resilience Conversation (DOCX, 2.3 MB) is a tool to help you have confident and strength focussed conversations with young people. If you have the option of choosing when to have a conversation with a young person, think of who is best to have this conversation and think of your environment – use a table, for example, and think of your body language to create a calm atmosphere.
  • Ask the young person to read the consent box at the bottom of the page and to sign/date it if they are happy for their information to be shared.
  • Explain each area and the four categories on the mapping tool (self, family, significant others, wider community).
  • Explain to the young person that the areas link with one another, for example, a strong friendship (green) with a friend from school may help a young person improve their talents and interests (red or amber) by getting them to go along to a school club. Here the young person will be using a strong part to boost a weaker part.
  • If needed, model one of the parts yourself as an example. The young person may be confused at first but don’t panic!
  • Give the young person 3-4 minutes to RAG rate their areas using three coloured pens. This must be their own views and not others. If you don’t have red, amber and green pens the young person could write the letters on instead, e.g. R, A and G.

How to use the online HeadStart Resilience Conversation recording tool

The quick and simple online form for recording Resilience Conversations is for schools and communities that are not part of the HeadStart research programme. HeadStart is a research and development programme and HeadStart schools have a separate process for capturing information. The purpose of capturing this information is to effectively monitor and evaluate the impact on all young people who have been part of a Resilience Conversation.

Complete the Resilience Conversation recording tool

Once a Resilience Conversation has been completed with the young person, please record and submit this information online here.

Please note: for young people under the age of 13 years, while a Resilience Conversation can take place, submitting information via the online form should only be used with parental agreement.

If you require any further assistance using the online forms, email


What next?

  • They now have an accessible, visual representation of their own resilience.
  • Focus on the greens first. Ask them what is going well in their lives? Ask them why they put green for those areas
  • Allow the conversation to flow. The young person should lead the conversation, but you may need to prompt with further questions. Don’t overthink the conversation – you are likely to be having these sorts of conversations on a regular basis but maybe not covering all the parts and in this detail.
  • Gradually move on to amber and reds – ask the young person why they chose that colour. This may happen organically, or you may need to ask further questions.
  • Ask what would make a ‘red’ better? – This will become an action to be written in the table on the conversation sheet. There may be just one action for one part or the young person may want more actions to be written down, this is personal to them. It is not necessary to have an action for each part.
  • If appropriate, you may suggest the young person visits the school or community safe space/s, see a peer mentor, try online counselling, or access one of the other HeadStart services if in an active HeadStart District, e.g. volunteer mentor, intensive mentor, talents and interests grant, family group transition work.