This activity may be approached in several ways, depending on the special needs of the group and the particular situation in which the activity is used. It may be used as an outline or guide for a creative presentation to groups of young children, may be used as a discussion guide with groups especially when the groups include both adults and children, and may be used as an interview format when working with individual children and families. The goal of the activity is to encourage a nurturing attitude toward self, an awareness of factors related to positive mental health, and an orientation to talking and sharing with others as a way of eliciting guidance and affirmation.
Positive Mental Health
1. What do you think it means to have good mental health?
2. What do you do to help your mental health?
3. What do you like about yourself?
4. What helps you feel happy, excited, satisfied? What kinds of people, situations, things help you feel good, help you be emotionally positive?
5. When do you feel unhappy? What kinds of people, situations, or things get you to feeling afraid, angry, sad, confused, or feeling emotionally negative?
6. Sometimes our negative emotions get out of balance and sort of take over. When this happens, we sometimes have problems with our behavior and adjustment. When your emotions get a little out of balance and the negative emotions take over, what kinds of problems does it cause you with your behavior, your adjustment?
Having Good Mental Health
7. Our feelings are okay. This includes feeling afraid, angry, or sad. How we deal with our feelings makes a difference, though. How do you deal with it when you feel angry, when you feel afraid, when you feel sad?
8. It is important to understand our anger and to express it appropriately. How do you express your anger? How do you let people know when you are angry?
9. It is important to understand our fears and to talk about them. What do you think is going on with you when you feel afraid? With whom do you talk about your fears?
10. Being sad is normal. Understanding why we are sad and sharing our sadness with someone else is an important part of good mental health. With whom do you share your sadness?
11. When our negative emotions get out of balance, it is important to try to understand and share those emotions with others. It is also important to get our emotions back into balance. When you are experiencing negative emotions, what kinds of things do you do to get things back into balance, to help yourself feel more emotionally positive?
People Want to Help
12. The first person who can help you is you. You do this by being nice to yourself. What do you do to be sure that these nice things happen for you? Sharing your feelings with others Being positively involved with other people Being cheerful with other people Being helpful to other people Enjoying a well balanced diet Getting plenty of sleep Trying new things Keeping a good balance of work, rest, and play Getting held when you need it Giving and getting hugs Not abusing or misusing alcohol or drugs Being as nice to others as you would like them to be to you.
13. Feel good about yourself and others will feel good about you. Be nice to yourself you deserve it. What have you done today to be nice to yourself? What will you do tomorrow to be nice to yourself? You are a special person. You are a person with style, all the time, on purpose.