You will need
- Copies of the Better mental health for all script
- Light coloured balloons
- Black marker(s) or felt pen(s)
Before you begin
- The person leading the activity should inflate enough balloons that everyone in the group will have one. They should then inflate one more balloon and write ‘Wellbeing’ on it with the pen.
Run the activity
- The person leading the activity should give out copies of the ‘Better mental health for all script.’ Everyone should read through the script - the group could take turns reading it aloud. Ask the group about the causes of mental health issues listed on the script and see if they know any others.
- The person leading the activity should give out the balloons and pens. Everyone should write their name and a cause of a mental health issue for a young person on their balloon with the pen.
- Everyone should stand in a circle in the centre of the room, holding their balloons. The person leading the activity should give the balloon with ‘Wellbeing’ on it to one person and tell them to go and stand in the middle of the circle.
- The person in the middle of the circle should bounce both their own balloon and the ‘Wellbeing’ balloon lightly into the air, take care to stop both balloons touching the ground. They may use any part of their body to do so.
- When one of the balloons floats close to someone in the circle, they should bounce it back into the air and join the person in the middle, adding their own balloon to the two already in the air. There should now be two people keeping three balloons from touching the ground. Each time a balloon floats near someone in the circle, they should join in and add their balloon to those in the air. Everyone should work together to keep all of the balloons from touching the ground. If someone’s balloon touches the ground, the person with their name on the balloon must collect it and return to the circle.
- Once everyone has joined the middle of the circle, the person leading the activity should tell the group to catch the ‘Wellbeing’ balloon. The person who does so is the winner.
- Everyone should go back to their ‘Better mental health for all script.’ The person leading the activity should explain that the game was similar to what life can be like for a young person who is struggling with a mental health issue. They might find that they have to deal with lots of issues at the same time and should always remember to think about their wellbeing and to ask for help from others around them.
This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved, here.
The group has played a game which involved working as a team to keep balloons in the air. As a team, how did you work together to stop any of the balloons touching the ground? Did you ask for help from someone when faced with three or four balloons at once? How did you try to stick close to the ‘Wellbeing’ balloon, so that you could catch it at the end?
The game represents a young person juggling their problems while dealing with a mental health issue. Problems can seem to mount up and fall on you all at once, very much like the group’s balloons. Which causes of mental health issues did the group decide to put on their balloons? Did anyone put something that affected them? See if they would like someone else in the group or an adult to hear more about their problem to help keep that balloon up in the air.
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.
This might be the first time that a young person has explored the issue of mental health or thought about speaking with someone about this
If anyone shares their own mental health problems let them know that they can talk to you afterwards and that Childline offers free confidential counselling, 24-hours-a-day. They can call on 0800 1111 or go online to chat one-to-one with a counsellor at: childline.org.uk/get-support/