The Puzzle to Positive Mental Health

The concept of taking proactive ownership of our mental health can be confronting. After all, it would be much easier to wait for someone else, like our parents or friends, to ‘make us happy’. 

However, taking ownership of our mental wellbeing can also be extremely empowering and liberating. We can recognise how powerful the everyday choices we make are…

This concept was introduced to our Year 7 students, who workshopped the concept of positive mental health, as part of their Alternative Learning Days program. The session, run by College psychologists Kimerlee Burrows and Majella Dennis, was designed to empower our girls to make good choices in their everyday lives.

The Facts

To start off the workshop, the girls first got the facts. They explored the idea of wellbeing and positive mental health as a puzzle – with lots of different pieces that connect together, including diet, exercise, sleep, studying and socialising. Students identified how much they need of each.

The Impact

Following on from the facts, the girls recognised that the choices they make around these things, such as exercise, sleep and diet, impact their mood and play a huge role in their wellbeing.

The Barriers

Students then looked at the barriers they could potentially meet when trying to achieve their positive mental health habits and brainstormed how they could overcome these.

Role Play: Wellbeing Committee

Applying theory to practice, the girls were invited take on the role of a ‘wellbeing committee’. They reviewed the case of a hypothetical student who was struggling with her wellbeing.

They worked together to identify what poor choices the student was making that may have effected her wellbeing, and drafted recommendations to help improve the student’s mental health.

Wellbeing Pledges

To finish off, the students wrote individual ‘wellbeing pledges’, in which they took time to set a goal for 2022 that would support their wellbeing.

They reflected on potential barriers to achieving their wellbeing goal and their plans to overcome these. They will carry their wellbeing pledges with them in their journals.

How can you as a parent support your daughter to build positive mental health habits?

Following on from this workshop, here are some tips to consider:

  1. Encourage her to talk openly about her thoughts and feelings.
  2. Be a mental health role model. Lead by example.
  3. Support her to connect and build positive relationships.
  4. Work together to learn some coping skills.
  5. Help her to stay focused on the present moment.
  6. Encourage her to look after her physical health (sleep, food, exercise).
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