Yourself and Mental Health

A look at mental health: you, yourself and I. And self-esteem. Where there is a PDF image there is a downloadable Adobe PDF file. Click to get Adobe Acrobat reader

Circle of Struggles and Strengths


 Personal Factfile 


 What is self-esteem?


 What is confidence?


 When and why are you confident?

An exercise – moving forward 

Moving forward. If you want the group to achieve something, why not use this strategy: have a sheet of paper for each ‘vision’ to be achieved. On the sheet of paper you have the written goal. Underneath the goal, you have the ways in which that goal is going to be achieved. This is broken down into steps, with the mini-goals to be achieved, so that the main goal / vision can be achieved. 

An exercise – life story 

Your life story. Give everyone 3-4 pieces of paper (depending on their age). One piece of paper represents 5 years of each person’s life. This is where they will tell their story. On each piece of paper, they will write which 4-5 people had the biggest influence in their life, what that influence was, and key memories from that time period. If people can’t remember, encourage them with ‘who was your first teacher’ etc. Encourage people to write or draw their good and bad memories. The purpose is for them (and you) to discover their story, who they are and why. It should really help. 

(This idea taken and adapted from Gordon MacDonald, ‘The Resilient Life’) 

An exercise

Get a load of magazines – for both lads and girls – then do an exercise where you have to cut out people and stick them on a bit of paper according to certain categories.. always thinking about WHY..

  • People you’d like to be
  • People you don’t like
  • People you think are like you

A game

Everyone has to write something positive about the other people in the group and themselves.

The statements are then read out to the relevant people saying what others think is good about that person – for example, they are kind, friendly, a good laugh etc. This should be anonymous

A game

Everyone has a post-it note stuck to their forehead. On the post-its, pre-prepare some character types. For example, you could have ‘the leader’, ‘the chairperson’ or ‘the secretary’. Another example you could have ‘bossy’, ‘aggressive’, ‘quiet’. 

The idea is that no-one can see what they have on their own post-it note and no-one tell anyone else what that person has! It is important that one post-it has something like ‘ignore me’ or ‘unimportant’ on.

The principle is they have to try and guess what they are. You must be VERY careful who you choose to be ‘unimportant’ – maybe it should be a leader or an adult! Then feed back how everyone felt. The unimportant one should have a very interesting perspective!

An exercise

Get 2 large sheets of paper and draw 2 people on there. One is labelled ‘High Self Esteem’ and the other, surprisingly, ‘Low Self Esteem.’

Have some cards with words on such as ‘happy’, ‘confident’, ‘good looking’, ‘kind’ etc and see which of the 2 drawings the young people thing the word should be associated with

Situations and remedies

Get the young people, maybe anonymously (or not) to write or draw situations where they find it hard to be confident. I realise it may be hard to get this kind of honesty but try.

For example, some people find it hard going on a bus or making a complaint.

Then go through how the young person could approach this situation to make the best of it, not to get angry, and to help boost their self confidence. This may even entail trips out to do difficult stuff like buying an item and getting them to take it back etc.