What is emotional health?

1 hour

Create a safe and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules for the session.

Download the session What is Emotional Health?

This session is a starting activity for any year group to introduce the theme of emotional health and gauge the level of understanding amongst students.

In this session we will learn:

  • what emotional health means
  • how emotional health and physical health are linked



  • white board
  • scissors
  • pens
  • marker pens
  • large pieces of paper
  • wide range of magazines, catalogues, newspapers.


Digital resources

What is emotional health? View film


Key message

Emotional health is about how we think and feel. It is about our sense of wellbeing, our ability to cope with life events and how we acknowledge our own emotions as well as those of others. It doesn’t mean being happy all of the time.



  1. Give each small group paper, pens, pictures and scissors. Ask each group to draw and write on the paper and use other materials provided, magazines etc. to create a collage of a ‘healthy person’. This is a person about the same age as themselves. Think about everything that person might do to be healthy. Add words and images to the image What do they do to be healthy? Encourage all students to input ideas on to the paper and to consider all aspects of being healthy.
  2. Ask each group to choose their top three and feed back to the class, explaining why they chose these. Allow time for groups to feed back ideas or show what they have done. What does the class think are the most important aspects of being healthy?
  3. Ask each group to choose two coloured pens – one colour for emotional health and one for physical heath. Ask each group to circle pictures and words that relate to each.
  4. Divide the white board into two areas, one for physical, one for emotional, and ask groups to feed back or come up and write words under each. Were there some words that applied to both? Why is that? What is the connection?
  5. Ask the students if they were surprised about anything. Was it easier to think about physical health? Explain the key message and how all of the factors identified affect how we think and feel. Physical health can affect our emotional health.
  6. Summarise what we mean by emotional health and that our wellbeing is about keeping life in balance.



What would a healthy school look like – one that supports the emotional health of students and staff?

How could the emotional health of staff and students be supported?



Why is it important for me to know about emotional health?


Links and Learning Journeys

This session links to: Rate a celebrity | Building resilience | Expressing feelings | My support network | Coping with changes | Knowing when to get support

It is also part of two suggested learning journeys:

Learning journey: learning about me: What is emotional health? | Building resilience | Let it out | Being positive | Barriers to seeking help | Making assumptions (short) | Helping my friends

Learning journey: stress: What is emotional health? | My support network | Let it out | Exam stress (short) | Talking helps: it’s hard to say (short) | Coping with changes

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support.