Supports and challenges to our mental health | Jigsaw Schools Hub

Section 2: Supports and challenges to our mental health

Section 2: Supports and challenges to our mental health

Wednesday, 03 March 2021

This section will support young people to understand what can help, and also challenge their mental health and wellbeing. It will highlight how their mental health can be affected by what is going on for them. 

Creative mess of colorful school supplies on desk.

Youth mental health and wellbeing toolkit

Supports and challenges to our mental health
Section 2 will support young people to understand what can help, and also, challenge their mental health and wellbeing.

You are here.
  • worksheet icon
    resources

    3 downloads

  • movie camera icon
    multimedia

    1 animation and 1 video

  • mindmap icon
    activities

    4 class activities and discussions


Supports and challenges to our mental health and wellbeing

Using these resources and activities with young people will help to explore how our mental health is like a scale and can shift depending on what is going on for us. It will also give young people a safe space to experience the story of another young person and what helps and hurts their mental health and wellbeing.

"Mental health is like a scale"

illustration of a scale

Use the image of a scale to ask questions about how it may relate to mental health.

What hurts and helps the mental health of young people?

 

Download the mental health scale

Ask the class to label the things that support their mental health and the things that can challenge their mental health.

Remember supports for our mental health are things that:

  • make us feel good
  • help us to feel connected
  • bring us joy
  • calm us down
  • make us feel relaxed
  • make us feel happy.

Things that can challenge our mental health are things that:

  • make us feel worried
  • interrupt our sleep or appetite
  • make us feel isolated
  • disconnect us from others.

Ask the class to share their answers, but only what they feel comfortable with.

My World Survey 2

 

My World Survey 2, launched in 2019, surveyed 19,000 young people in Ireland between the ages of 12 – 25 years-old. It gives us a valuable insight into risk factors associated with mental health distress but also explores a wide number of positive factors.

Challenges to our mental health can be relatively brief, or persist for many years and come and go over time. Mental health difficulties rarely have one definite cause. They usually involve the combination of a lot of different factors.

Provide the class with ‘what hurts’ and ‘what helps’ information from My World Survey 2. Use it to prompt a class discussion.

Ask the class to consider whether these findings were what they expected? How do the findings compare to what they wrote on their mental health scale? Is there anything they would add?


What helps? What hurts?

 

Real life examples

Olivia and Cian are both experiencing challenges to their mental health and are using a variety of coping strategies to manage these. Use these video resources as a basis for class discussion. Using real life scenarios for discussion supports young people to develop mental health literacy and normalise conversations around mental health.

Please note that Olivia’s story may be more suitable for Junior Cycle students and Cian’s story might be more suitable for Senior Cycle students.

 

Olivia is 15 and in transition year. Ask the class to think about what might be hurting or helping her mental health while watching the animation.

What three things did you learn about mental health in exploring Olivia’s story?

 

Think about what might be hurting Cian’s mental health while watching this video?

What coping strategies is Cian currently using? What could he do differently that might support his mental health?

Reflective practice

After delivering the resources from this section, consider some of the following questions to help consolidate your learning.

  • How did you feel before the lesson? (e.g. nervous, prepared, confident, etc.) What influenced how you were feeling in advance of this lesson? Did this have any impact on the lesson?
  • What was the most successful part of this lesson, and why? What learning could you utilise in the future, when delivering resources from this toolkit?
  • How did you know the young people were interested and engaged during this lesson?
  • Did any challenges arise during the lesson? If yes, why did they arise? How did you address the challenges you encountered and were you satisfied with how you managed the challenges? Is any further follow-up required?
  • In terms of using the resources provided, what are your next steps?

Download this reflection exercise

 

Support documents

Move on to section 3: Mental health and wellbeing in your school

This section should have helped young people to gain an understanding of what can support and challenge our mental health and wellbeing as well as to develop mental health literacy by responding to real to life scenarios.

The next section, mental health and wellbeing in your school, will support young people to discuss the impact Covid-19 may have had on their mental health.

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