My Support Map

Group Activity, Participant Evaluation, Participant Use on February 9th, 2010 Comments Off on My Support Map


My Support Map is an activity designed to assess young people’s access to support and to monitor changes or growth in a young person’s support network.

Further Details

Young people need access to support to help them cope with day-to-day issues they may face. Support can come from family and friends, peers, community members or support services. Youth who are at most risk of experiencing mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, may not have access to adequate support. Peer-based programs for young people play an important role in developing supportive peer relationships and increasing young people’s knowledge of the support services they can access.

The overall aim of the My Support Map activity is to compare present levels of support to levels of support available to an individual prior to participating in a peer-based program. The tool can be used to capture changes or growth in a young person’s support network and to identify individuals who at greater risk of mental health problems owing to inadequate support. The tool is also useful to assess young people’s knowledge of available support services.

The My Support Map activity requires a facilitator. This can be an adult e.g. the program coordinator, or the activity can be peer-led i.e. a young person from the group who has been attending the group for some time facilitates the activity.

The My Support Map activity comprises Support Map 1 and Support Map 2.  Support maps are retained by the program coordinator and kept confidential. Participants should be reassured that no other members of the group will see the maps and that everyone’s maps will look different.

Support Map 1 should be completed early in the program and Support Map 2 should be completed after young people have participated in the program. For ongoing programs, support map 2 should be completed after a period of 3-6 months.


  1. The facilitator goes through an example of a support map on the whiteboard. Directions are given to participants on how a support map should be filled in. The circle titled ‘Immediate’ is where you write down the people or organisations that you rely on most. These individuals or services would be your first port of call if you needed help. The circle titled ‘Secondary’ is where you write down other people and organisations that you also rely on. You may call on these individuals or services if your immediate sources of help were unavailable.
  2. Group participants fill in their own support map showing their current support network. Maps should only include people and/or services they rely on for support or whom they have or would contact for support. The maps should not be a list of people or services they know of but have not used or would not use.
  3. Optional addition to activity: Participants can be given a list of local support organisations as a memory aid when doing this activity (See Example). It is often difficult to remember support services you have used but may not have used recently. The list of organisations can be generated by the program coordinator or as a group activity. This optional addition to the My Support Map activity has several advantages:
    1. Opportunity to increase young people’s knowledge of local support services they may not have been aware of previously
    2. Opportunity for young people to hear their peers’ experiences of using particular support services.

Suggested Uses

The My Support Map activity is a simple way for young people to identify the immediate and secondary sources of support available to them. Reflecting on their personal maps can also be a positive experience for young people to realise that they are not alone and help is available.

By comparing Support Map 1 with Support Map 2 for each individual, program staff can identify changes or growth in a young person’s support network since participating in the program.

The activity is particularly good for young people who may not feel comfortable participating in group discussions or who do not enjoy completing survey tools. The activity can be completed silently and alone while still providing a useful opportunity for young people to reflect on who they would rely on if they faced a problem.

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