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It’s important for both young people who feel well and for those who are struggling to keep a record of their experiences and learning. This enables new knowledge and learning to be used beyond the life span of your workshops.

Living Sculptures

Aim: This activity give young people the chance to explore some of the visual markers of low wellbeing, as they experience them themselves and as their peers do. The different phsysicalisations provide the young people with a chance to discuss their own symptoms of poor mental health in a safe, non-direct way.

young people use each other’s bodies as sculpting clay and make sculptures that show people feeling at their best, and people feeling at their lowest. This activity can also be done using visual art like painting and printing, or through dance or other types of physical expression

        1. As a short warm up activity, split the group into pairs and ask them to stand opposite their partner. Ask one person to be the ‘original’ and the other to be the ‘mirror’. In silence, the original will move in any way they wish, and the mirror must mirror them. Remind the pairs that they are working as a team, not against each other and so the original should work with the mirror to help them. Swap over roles. This warm up works as an effective way to build trust between pairs and allows them to home into each other’s way of moving and physicality.
        2. In the same pairs, ask one person to be the sculptor and the other to be the clay. Explain that the sculptor will be moulding the clay into a statue. Tell the sculptor to create a statue of themselves when they are feeling the happiest/at the best, and then afterwards and their lowest. Give the pairs time to make their statues NB if you feel that physical contact would not be appropriate with your group of young people, then explain that the sculptor will mould the clay by imagining there is string attached to them at each joint, as if they were moving a puppet.
        3. Once they are ready, ask the other sculptors to walk around the room looking at the other statues. Each sculptor should speak a little (if they are happy to do so) about what they created. Some interesting discussions can arise, for example if a statue is holding its stomach, it may indicate that someone stops eating when they are feeling low, or comfort eats.
        4. Switch partners and repeat the above.



Aim: Sometimes it can be difficult to get an accurate sense of the people and places we move with and in, and the impact they have on us (both positive and negative). By mapping these out, young people can sometimes find clarity and objectivity in knowing what these spaces and people mean to them.

This exercise gives young people the chance to map out their everyday lives and identity, which spaces they occupy and with whom, and think about how they make them feel, which they should use more and which they should avoid.


            1. Go round in all-group circle and ask each young person to tell us the name of 1 place they have been to in the last week. Explain that no places can be repeated e.g. college, Praxis, etc.) Once the most common suggestions have been used up, young people will begin to think more creatively, e.g. I went to the park, I stood in the bus stop etc.
            2. Explain to the group that they are going to spend some time on their own thinking about the people and places that exist in their everyday lives, and the impact they have on them.
            3. Give each young person a copy of the ‘mapping me’ handout (see resources section). Use this as an example, and explain some of the images to them, emphasising the difference between the positive and negative spaces.
            4. Ask each young person to draw or write their own map of me, using different colours to distinguish positive and negative spaces.
            5. Ask a couple of the confident group members to talk through their maps.
            6. Group discussion – did anyone find out something they hadn’t realised before? What did you learn from it?
            7. Ask the group to note down any action points in their journey journal.

Taking it home….

Suggest to your young people that they take their maps home and put them up in their room, or keep them somewhere safe and easily accessible (use good quality card and pens to encourage them to do this). This will keep their learning from the activity fresh, and allow them to reassess how they feel about the places and people on their map as time goes on. Encourage them to change/add to their maps if their feelings about a place or person changes, or if any new people or places of significance come into the lives.



Aim: This is a drama-based exercise designed to unravel the difficulties involved with understanding and interpreting emotions.

Overview: Everyone’s sense of feeling and emotion is different and relative, and people’s perceptions vary also. This activity will give young people the opportunity to explore these differences without needing an advanced level of English to do so.


  1. Discuss the idea of different emotions. Place cards on the floor describing different emotions. Begin with ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ and then stretch out to more difficult emotions (e.g. angry, upset, offended, content). This is an opportunity to improve English and literacy skills while discussing different interpretations of what these emotions mean, and how people show them.
  2. Choose one of the cards and share the it with the group. Ask the whole group to form a circle and ask them all to close their eyes. Explain to the group that one person will be asked to show an emotion using their body language. Touch one member on the shoulder and show them one of the emotion cards. So for example, they are HAPPY. Now ask the group to discuss who they think has been shown the ‘happy’ card. Try this with more difficult cards. Discuss how people perceive those emotions differently. Some examples may be more subtle then others.
  3. Next, have three chairs labelled with three emotions. For example, happy, sad and angry. Now sit in each chair and show how physicality changes. Now say one line ‘I’m happy for you!’ Say it happy when in the happy chair, sad in the sad chair and finally angry.
  4. Allow each young person to do this one by one. Each person moves from chair to chair taking on the physicality and tone of the labelled chair. They repeat the same line with different emotions driving the words.
  5. Discuss how different people may have different physicality for each chair. For example, your group might notice that sometimes anger can be hard to spot, or can be mistaken for another feeling. Change the cards on each chair.
  6. Run scenes. Set a location and some characters and a situation in the three chairs and see how people respond for example 3 people on a busy bus, or at a party. They can move chairs throughout swapping to a different emotion at any point. The result will be both hilarious and educational but make sure you discuss with the wider group the different physicalisations used.
  7. The workshop gets tied up with a discussion on how we can be aware of others emotional wellbeing and also how we can communicate our feelings through our bodies and voices.


Aim: To enable young people to map their own progress and reflect on their journey.

This exercise is for individuals to use on their own. Young people should be given 5 minutes at the end of each session to add to it and reflect. The journal is a visual way for the young people to see their progress and they should be able to take it home each week or leave it at the sessions but on the understanding that it is their private journal.


            1. Give each young person a journey journal template that will become their ‘Personal Journey Journal’
            2. Get the young person to write their name on the cover and 3 things about themselves (this can be anything and should be kept light-hearted: use examples that include hobbies or talents/skills that people have)
            3. Throughout future sessions, young people will add to their journals information they have learnt about themselves or the coping mechanisms they have gained


Aim: To enable young people to understand the support they have and the support they may need

This exercise is a visual way for young people to map and understand their own support needs.

Defining support: some young people may have a negative perception of the word, ‘support’ (e.g. from negative experiences with support workers). Some may only understand it as a formal type of support that doesn’t include family and friends etc. If this is the case, use words like, ‘guidance’, ‘listening’, ‘advice’ or ‘a helping hand’ initially.


            1. Using the example diagram opposite as a template for the young people to write their name in the inner circle in the middle of a piece of flip chart paper
            2. Suggest drawing a symbol that symbolises themselves next to/instead of their name
            3. In the inner circle, ask young people to write down the most important things in their lives. This could be people like family or friends, but it could also be places where they access support or institutions that they belong to. Make sure they only write down the 3 or 4 most important ones. Encourage them to be creative and draw images next to them
            4. For the next circle, ask the young people to add things that are slightly less important to them but still play a supportive role in their lives. Carry this on for the remainder of the circles. For example, a young person might have their foster parents in the inner circle, their school in the next circle, and their friends in the following circle
            5. Once they have completed their diagram, encourage the group to discuss how each of the things on their diagram provides them with support, and what different types of support look like
            6. If any of your young people is confident enough, ask him/her to feed back their support diagram to the rest of the group

Taking it home…

In order to lengthen the lifespan of this activity, ask the young people to add an additional circle that represents support they would like, but have not yet accessed. This may include a possible group or class they would like to attend, or an organisation they would like to interact with. As an action point, ask the group to choose one element of their ‘future circle’ that they will try out in the next week/month (whichever is most realistic). Check in to see how the group are getting on with this in future sessions.



Aim: To give young people the chance to analyse their day-to-day activities and include new, simple activities that may have a positive impact on their wellbeing

This is a large group activity that will facilitate discussion around the impact doing or not doing certain activities has on our wellbeing.


            1. Print out the Activity Sheet opposite and cut out the activities individually (or create your own)
            2. Use masking tape to mark out a large cross on the floor and place each label at the relevant points on the diagram (see opposite)
            3. Give the young people 2 or 3 pictures each, selected at random.
            4. Ask the young people to then place their images on the chart in the space that is most appropriate for them (e.g. if someone thinks that being in nature has a high impact on their wellbeing but isn’t something they do often, they would place their image in the top right-hand section of the dragram).
            5. Facilitate a group discussion on why different people have placed their activities where they have. Encourage people to take their time
            6. Spend some time talking about where people have placed their activities with the whole group. Highlight the different opinions people have on different activities, and how something beneficial for one person might be useless for another
            7. Now ask the young people to write on separate pieces of paper the positive activities they do in their lives and repeat the above process with their own ideas

Taking it home…

Ask the young people to take a photo on their phones of the post-its with new activities the would like to try out in the future that others have suggested. Encourage them to agree to try out a new activity before the next session.




Stress Resized

Map of Me:

Support Map Example
Blank Support Maps
Coloured pens, pencils, paints etc

Map of Me


Emotional Chairs Resources:

Emotion Cards





My Journey Journal Resources:

Click on the Journey Journal below to open and print
Print double sided and fold in half

booklet fron and cover



Identifying Support Resources:

Flip chart paper
A handful of coloured pens
A selection of A5 paper

Identifying support


Dealing Diagram Resources:

Click on the Activity Sheet below to open and print
Masking tape
Clear floor space


Activities sheet

Dealing Diagrammed