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What is PEP TALK?

A brief introduction to PEP TALK, a conversation guide for teachers to use when interacting with young people regarding wellbeing.
Group of young people smiling

What is PEP TALK?

PEP TALK is a conversation guide for teachers to use when interacting with young people regarding wellbeing and the impact of COVID-19.

Through an open and non-intrusive conversation style, PEP TALK can be used to gain rich-detailed information about a young person’s wellbeing across these seven domains:

Physical Health
Emotional Wellbeing
Peer Relationships
Living Conditions
Keep it positive

How to implement PEP TALK

In each domain, you read articles, hear from the people who developed the resource and share thoughts and ideas with other learners.

Through their voices, you will have the opportunity to hear young people speaking about each of the domains listed above. They will also share their do’s and don’ts for supporting young people’s mental wellbeing.

A note of caution: some of the content of the young people’s interviews might be emotionally triggering. We felt it was important, however, to leave our young voices as intact as possible because similar stories may be playing out amongst the young people you are working with.

The Good Childhood Index (GCI)

In order to identify students who will be best served by the PEP TALK, we advise that schools use the Good Childhood Index (GCI). You can find links to the GCI in the See also section below.

The GCI is a robust measure of wellbeing developed by the Children’s Society.

The index takes less than ten minutes for a child to fill out and provides teachers with a clear picture of students’ general level of wellbeing and highlights those with relatively low levels of well-being, and therefore in need of a PEP TALK.

Monitoring progress

The frequency of these conversations will be determined by the needs and willingness of the young person. To help guide subsequent sessions the teacher may want to implement PEP POINTS.


PEP POINTS is a goal-based system that the adult and the young person can use to track a young person’s progress across the PEP TALK domains.


To encourage a sense of achievement and progress, each PEP TALK domain consists of two PEP TASK suggestions that the young person can choose to complete if they cannot think of two goals for themselves.

The tasks can be co-produced by the young person and the educator, however, the adult’s role is to facilitate ideas rather than to create goals for the young person to achieve.

Completion of these tasks will earn the young person PEP POINTS for the specific domain. Subsequent sessions would provide an opportunity for the young person and adult to check in on the young person’s progress with a specific task. There is a maximum of 14 tasks, two in each of the seven domains of the PEP TALK.

Before you begin

It’s important to stress that when using this guide to speak with a young person, the teacher should first confirm that the young person is willing to take part in the conversation and understands why the conversation is taking place.

The teacher should explain that although the information shared with them will be confidential any portion of the conversation that is considered a safeguarding issue will be raised with the safeguarding team.

However, the teacher should take care to reassure the young person that they will be informed and supported through each step of the process.

A check-in tool and conversation guide

Finally, it is important to note that PEP TALK is a check-in tool and conversation guide that also contains some very light-touch advice. The resource isn’t a mental health intervention.

If you feel a young person might be in acute mental health distress or suffering from chronic mental health issues, it is important that the appropriate safeguarding procedures or Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) referrals are made.

If you’d like to learn more about PEP TALK, check out the full online course, from The Mental Health Foundation, below.

This article is from the free online

Youth Mental Health: Supporting Young People Using a Trauma Informed Practice

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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