About the Toolkit

About the HandsOnScotland Toolkit

The HandsOnScotland Toolkit is a resource for anybody working with or caring for children and young people. It gives practical information and tools to help you respond helpfully to troubling behaviours and to help children and young people to flourish.

The toolkit is arranged into two sections - the Troubling Behaviours section and the Flourishing section.

Troubling Behaviours section

The Troubling Behaviours section was the first section to be completed and was launched on 6 June 2007. It was developed by Playfield Institute in partnership with Barnardo’s and the University of Dundee, School of Nursing.

This section was commissioned by HeadsUpScotland, the National Project for children and young people’s mental health, in response to recommendations from the Scottish Needs Assessment Programme (SNAP) report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health (2003). The SNAP report found that many frontline workers from all agencies felt they lacked the practical skills and confidence to help children and young people who have troubling behaviours.

These children or young people may be waiting to see a mental health specialist or they may have already received specialist assessment, but need ongoing support from frontline workers. Alternatively, they may not need to see a specialist, but they need someone to help them through a difficult time in their lives. If help is given early enough, when a problem appears, it may not become a serious issue. This section was designed for anyone working with children and young people (for example: teachers, social workers, foster carers, health workers, school nurses, etc) to offer help and support to children and young people in such situations.

Most topics in the Troubling Behaviours section will give you information on:

  • What the topic is about
  • Things to think about in trying to understand what may be causing the child or young person's behaviour
  • Thinking about your own response and how that may be affecting the child or young person's behaviour
  • What you can do
  • When to seek further support and help.

The Troubling Behaviours section has evolved since its launch, taking into consideration feedback about the content from users.

Flourishing section

The Flourishing section was developed by Playfield Institute, and was launched on 2 September 2010.

This section was funded by the Scottish Government to fulfil Commitment 1 of the policy and action plan: Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland (2009). This has involved developing the HandsOnScotland toolkit to include a section on promoting mental wellbeing in children and young people. This section is targeted at all those working with and caring for children and young people, including parents.

It is a resource that gives information, ideas and activities to help promote flourishing in all children and young people. It also aims to help prevent the difficulties described in the Troubling Behaviours section and to help enhance your own mental health and create a flourishing community.

Most topics in the Flourishing section will give you information on:

  • What the topic is about
  • Why the topic is important
  • How to help children develop in that area.

The topics listed in this part of the website have been chosen based on extensive research of psychology and health promotion materials (references) as well as consultation with many workers and parents who told us what they would notice in a child with good mental health.


We hope that the HandsOnScotland toolkit will give you the information to help you understand mental health promotion and the confidence to act to help children and young people. We have consulted with frontline workers and parents throughout the development of the website to ensure that the content is relevant and useful.

We believe that this website is an ongoing, dynamic process and we welcome your feedback so that we can continue to improve it. You can provide specific feedback about individual topics on the appropriate topic page, or general feedback about the toolkit by emailing handson@nhs.net.


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