Mental Health

Learning Intention: In this lesson, you learn how to define mental health and how to respond to mental health disorders through self-care and by supporting others. 

Lesson Duration: 60 - 90 minutes

Task 1 / Understanding mental health


A person’s mental health refers to their emotional, psychological and social well being. As a class, create a mind map of terms relating to mental health (e.g. emotions / experiences / conditions). 

Reviewing the completed mind map as a class, consider the following questions:

  • Are more of the terms positive or negative?
  • Are these terms relevant to people of all ages or just certain age brackets?


Working in small groups, assign each member a different character from the show - Charlotte, Alex, Jamie, Zali and Leon. Based on the character, form a list of words from the mind map that you feel best describes the mental health of that character. 

Share your list with the other group members and then consider the following questions together:

  • Do you think your character’s mental health is currently positive?? 
  • What do you think are the main things impacting your character’s mental health? 
  • Can you think of any scenes from the show where your character’s mental health becomes apparent?
  • What could a friend do to support your character?

Task 2 / Mental health disorders

According to Kids Helpline, a mental health disorder or mental illness is something that can impact someone over a long-term period. Consider the following information:

The more you understand about mental illness, the easier it might be to help.

We can all feel stress, sadness and anxiety, but when someone has a mental illness, these feelings can stick around for a long time and can affect everything in their life.

If a friend is struggling with a mental illness, it's important to remember that it's not as easy as 'move on' or 'get over it.’ Working through a mental health condition takes time.

My Friend Struggles With Mental Health | Kids Helpline



As a class, discuss some signs we may notice in others who could be experiencing poor mental health or a mental health disorder. Make a list on the board.


Compare your responses with these signs listed by Kids Helpline:

  • Having low energy or motivation
  • More emotional than usual – anger, worry, sadness, crying
  • Avoiding friends, family and social situations
  • Not doing the things they usually enjoy
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Not acting like themselves – starting fights, stealing, acting out

My Friend Struggles With Mental Health | Kids Helpline



As a class, watch this scene between Zali and her father:


In small groups, consider the following questions based on the scene you just watched:

  • What different emotions do you think Zali experienced throughout the sequence? 
  • Do you think Zali’s response was healthy or unhealthy?
  • What do you think Zali needed from her dad at that moment?
  • How could this conflict have been handled differently?

You may like to listen to Anika and Kien-Ling discuss this relationship in the Even More Than This podcast in Ep. 3 / Zali & Jamie.


Unfortunately, people experiencing mental illness may resort to self-harm. This is touched on throughout More Than This through Zali’s character. Consider the following information from Kids Helpline:

Self-harm is when someone hurts or injures their body on purpose.

  • It includes things like cutting, burning, scratching or hitting
  • It can be really dangerous
  • Self-harming doesn’t always mean that the person wants to end their life
  • If you are thinking about hurting yourself, it’s important to let someone know so they can help you cope

Why do people self-harm?
There are many reasons why someone might self-harm and everyone’s story is different. Here's just a few reasons why somebody might self-harm:

  • Express difficult emotions
  • Feel connected to something
  • Have seen it work for other people
  • Feel relief
  • Control or escape their feelings
  • Punish themselves
  • Cope with their feelings
  • Show they need help

Who can help?
Self-harming can be really dangerous, so it’s important to reach out to someone who can help. You might like to speak with:

  • A parent or trusted adult in your life
  • Kids Helpline
  • School counsellor
  • Teacher
  • Youth worker
  • Psychologist or Social Worker
  • Doctor or nurse

If you need urgent medical help call an ambulance (000) or go to the emergency department of your local hospital.

Self-Harm | Kids Helpline



Prepare a list of questions you have about mental health disorders and invite your school counselor or healthcare provider to speak to your class to help you navigate this discussion.

Task 3 / Self-care and supporting others

Seeking help from a professional, a doctor, counsellor, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, is a great way to support mental health when life feels overwhelming. We can also use self-care to support ourselves and support others when mental health concerns feel more manageable.

Self-care refers to the ways in which we support our emotional, psychological and social well-being without the use of a healthcare provider. 


As a class, make a list of examples of self-care. Once you have formed your list, consider the following questions as a class:

  • Did you notice any forms of self-care in More Than This?
  • Which forms of self-care from your list do you think could have helped one or more of the characters from the series? 
  • How did Alex use music as a form of self-care? 

If you need a reminder of self-soothing and self-care check our Task 2 in the lesson on family, peer and academic pressures


Throughout Zali’s mental health struggles, we see two characters in particular attempt to provide her with support: Emma and Jamie. Watch these scenes depicting the different approaches these characters take to supporting Zali.

In small groups, consider the following questions:

  • What were the main differences in Jamie and Emma’s attempts to support Zali? 
  • Which approach do you think was more helpful? Why?


Think back to the character you were assigned in Task 1 - Charlotte, Alex, Jamie, Zali or Leon. Working in the same groups, write down three ways you think you could support that character’s mental health if they were your peer. Once all group members have finished, share your answers with one another.


Review these examples from Kids Helpline on how to support a friends struggling with their mental health:

  • Simply wanting to be there for your friend makes you a pretty great friend!
  • And with some key tips you'll be ready to help where you can.
  • Don't be afraid to have 'the conversation' - Choose a quiet place and a time where you're both relaxed. Try and ask, "Is there anything you wanted to talk about? You haven't really seemed yourself lately."
  • Be ready to listen and respond - If your friend wants to talk about things, show that you are listening and that you care (even if you're not sure how to help just yet).
  • If they don't want to talk about it - That's ok. Be patient and respectful of this. Let them know that you are there for them when they feel comfortable to talk about it.
  • Remember the power of 'just being there' for someone - It's tempting to want to find solutions and fix things for your friends. But if your friend isn't ready for help, just knowing that you are there is a powerful thing.
  • If they tell you they're NOT feeling ok - Encourage them to reach out for help. Offer to get help together if they are struggling to open up. Try talking with a parent, teacher, or Kids Helpline.
  • Be sure to take their feelings seriously - If they talk about suicide or feeling hopeless, it's important to get help by talking with an adult you trust or a counsellor.

My Friend Struggles With Mental Health | Kids Helpline


Extension Task / Self-care letters

Choose a character from the show and write them a short letter, mentioning any concerns you may have about their mental health in a supportive manner. Include some self-care tips they may be able to use and how you could support them in the process.

If any of the content in More Than This or this learning resource raises any issues for you, Kids Helpline’s qualified counsellors are available via WebChat, phone or email anytime and for any reason. 

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free (even from a mobile), confidential 24/7 online and phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Visit or call 1800 55 1800.


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