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Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.

Adult supervision suggested.


Lesson video

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Hi there, everybody.

Nice to meet you.

My name's Michelle, and I'm delighted that you're joining me today, to look at some outward signs of mental wellbeing concerns that we all might experience at one point or another in our lives, and also how we can recognise them.

So, in this lesson, we're going to be looking at Outward Signs of Mental Wellbeing Concerns.

And firstly, we're going to recap on some of our prior learning about mental health and then explore further, how to recognise some physical or behavioural outward signs that we might display or recognise in our everyday lives.

Now, mental health can be a very emotive subject.

So, it's really important if it does stir up some very strong feelings for you, that you know who you can turn to for help or support, if you need it.

Now, your trusted adults might be somebody at home or somebody at school that you can turn to, who you know will always have your back.

And it's important to remember that you can go to them if you need support.

So, how will we going to break this lesson up? Well, we've already started our learning by completing our intro quiz.

Next, we're going to move on to consider what mental health actually is, in terms of how we feel about our mental health.

Next, we're going to look at what anxiety is and what causes anxiety.

Then we'll look at how we can manage these anxieties in our lives.

Finally, you'll complete your exit quiz to consolidate the learning that we've covered today.

For this lesson, you are going to need an exercise book or some paper that you can jot your thoughts or ideas down on.

We're also going to need a pen to jot those ideas down and you're going to need your brain as well, because we're going to be doing a lot of learning today.

So, we've got quite a few key words that we're going to be learning in this lesson.

So, I'm going to run through them so that you understand fully what they mean before we start discussing them.

Firstly, is amygdalae.

Can you say that back to me? I know it's a really tricky word.


Well done.

Now, these are collections of cells in our brain which trigger our fear response.

And it's really important for us to understand what causes our fear in the first place, and how we respond to it.

Anxiety is caused when our amygdalae overreact to non-threatening situations.

The fight, flight and freeze is our body's response to our amygdalae's messages to our body.

Stress is one of the ways that our body responds when we feel under pressure or threatened.

Our mental health determines how we think, feel and act, in terms of our overall all wellbeing.

And our frame of reference is the way that we view the world at any given point in our lives.

Now, we're going to be using these words and looking in more depth at what they actually mean in terms of mental health.

So, what do we mean by the term mental health? Now, I'd like you to take a few seconds just to think about this.

You can pause the video if you like or you can just shout out some ideas.

What is mental health? Now, I'm hoping you came up with something along the lines of this.

Our mental health is what makes us feel like a human being.

It's about our emotions, our thoughts, our feelings, our moods and actually, looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health.

Why? Well, if I was to say to you right now, we're going to do a test.

You'd probably sit there and be like, "Oh, great, a test." But you'd get through the test because I'd asked you to do it.

Now, if you'd woken up this morning feeling really miserable and grotty, 'cause you were full of a cold and you were sneezing and you were sniffing, do you think you'd be able to perform particularly well in that test? Nope, me neither.

Now, if you were feeling really miserable and down and sad and I said to you, "Come on, we're going to do a test." You probably wouldn't be able to perform very well in that situation either, would you? Now, what we're going to look at now, is the fact that we all have some everyday feelings that come and go.

Can you think of any? I'd like you to pause the video right now and jot down as many of these everyday feelings that you can think of.

And then come back to me, I'm going to do the same and we can share our list.

Here are some of the ones that I came up with.

Happiness and joy.

Sadness, anger, fear, confusion, love, surprise, disgust, trust, anxiety.

Can you see how these outward signs might impact on my day-to-day life? Did you come up with anything that I didn't get on there? Next, we're going to be looking at what causes anxiety.

Now, we all know what anxiety feels like and how it affects us, and we all experience it in some form or another.

But why do we feel it might surprise you.

Now, our brain is the most complex part of our body, and it's the source of all the qualities that make us feel like human beings.

And without anxiety, we'd be in a little bit of trouble.

And here's why.

As soon as we sense danger, the little piece of our brain, called the amygdalae, we saw this before in our key words, a part of our limbic system, and they are located deep within our temporal lobe here, and as soon as we sense danger, they kick in.

Now, they play a really important role in managing our behaviours and our emotions.

Now, when we sense danger, the amygdalae sends a message to our body, to let us know that we are in danger.

And it's either, makes us protect ourselves, or runaway or completely shut down.

Now, this is what is known as the fight, flight or freeze response.

And we looked at that earlier as well.

And it kind of goes back to prehistoric times, where our ancestors or animals who were more responsive to potential dangers, were far more likely to survive.

Now, over many generations, this reaction has evolved into anxiety.

But the problem is that our amygdalae don't know the difference between the potential fears that we have, and so it doesn't know if we're afraid of being eaten, for example, or if we're afraid of failing an exam.

And our amygdalae often get confused and sometimes we then completely overreact.

Can you think of any times that this has happened to you? How did it make you feel? Now, I know for me, this makes me feel stressed and tense.

And this is because what happens, is our heart start beating faster making our muscles tense up from the extra blood that's being pumped around, and we start to sweat to try and cool ourselves down.

And now this would all be great if we needed to run away, but not if it's just leaving goose feelings, feeling anxious.

Our minds might go blank and we can't concentrate and we're unable to speak, maybe, which again would be great if we needed to hide but not if we needed to give a presentation, for example.

Now, when we feel like this, we might want to avoid the things that trigger this response.

So, perhaps, meeting new people or going to school.

But can you see why that might be a problem for us? These things aren't just going to go away and we're going to have to deal with them in the long run.

Now, remember, there's nothing wrong with feeling this way.

It's just our amygdalae's way of warning us that we are in potential danger.

So, actually, understanding why we feel the way we feel, when we're feeling anxious, is a really important part of learning how to manage our anxieties.

So, now that we understand why we experienced anxiety, what we're going to do is take a look at some of the things that might cause those anxieties in the first place.

Now, as we go through life, we're always going to experience some life events or certain pressures that are going to affect us.

So, for example, loss of a loved one or maybe we've got important exams that we've got to set or maybe we're ill and not feeling very well or we've injured ourselves in some way.

But how do we know if we are stressed? What are some of the outward signs that we think we should look for? I'm going to ask you to pause the video to complete your task.

And I'd like you to jot down some ways that you think you could tell if you were feeling anxious or stressed.

I'm going to do the same thing, and then when we come back, we can compare notes again.

And what were some of the signs of poor mental health that you picked upon? Perhaps you got some of the things on the list that I've got here, such as headaches or the inability to concentrate.

I'll let you read through, and then you can tell me if you've got any of them or anything else to add.

Did you get any of those? Great, if you did, well done.

How do we think that feeling this way might impact on our day-to-day lives though? So, if we're feeling like that all of the time, surely it's going to have some impact on us.

I'd like you to take a few seconds again to pause the video and to add down how you think that might impact on our day to day life.

Perhaps you came up with something like this.

The impact of poor mental health on our lives can result those being becoming socially withdrawn and isolating ourselves away from friends.

We might end up being overly self-critical.

We might have poor relationships with people.

We might not be able to solve our problems. And we might, again, not be able to perform very well in our exams. Now, all of these are things that we really need to avoid because we want to be happy and healthy in our lives.

And what we are going to do next, is a stress container activity.

Now, I would like you to imagine that you are a bucket.

I'd like you to pause the video and I'd like you to jot down all of the things that go into your stress bucket.

So, for example, what things happen on a daily basis or might happen at certain points in our lives, that would add stress, that we would put in our stress container? Now, it's important at this point, when you do this activity, to consider your frame of reference.

Now, this was another of our keywords at the start of the lesson, where I said that your frame of reference was to do with how you viewed certain things that were going on in your life.

So, for example, at any given time, you're going to feel differently about things.

So, for example, the things that stress me out now, as a 40 year old mother of two, are going to be completely different to the things that stress you out as a teenager.

Now, I was a teenager, a long time ago, so I do remember the sort of things that added stress and pressure to my life, and these are the things that I want you to think about now.

At another point in your life, you might have a different frame of reference.

So, as you get older, there might be other things that stress you out.

So, pause the video now and write down all those things that you think cause you stress.

Great! Now, for me, things like work and making sure that I am getting paid, so that I can afford to pay my bills and to pay my mortgage, all the things that stress me out a lot.

And making sure that my children are well looked after and cared for.

Now, your frame of reference might be completely different.

So, for you, you might have jotted down something like, homework or just being at school.

Fitting in with other people and making new friends and perhaps having friendship issues, where you fall out with each other.

Maybe you've got high expectations of yourself or your family half.

Maybe you're worried about the decisions that you've got to make about your life in the future.

I'm hoping that you've got other things that you added onto your list as well.

Now, the next stage in this activity.

is for you to think about having yourself as a tap or having a tap as part of your stress container.

Now, if we had all of these stresses going into our buckets on a regular basis, is eventually just going to raise to the very top and overflow, and we'll end up having a complete meltdown, which is not what we want at all.

So, if we think about what our tap might be, that could be things that we do or coping strategies that we engage with to try and get rid of some of these stresses, and let them flow out of our stress container bucket.

I want you to pause the video now and jot down anything that you can think of that you might use or any strategy that you might employ to try and alleviate some of those stresses.

Great! Now, for me, from my frame of reference, I enjoy doing things like spending time with my family or exercising, singing and dancing, I know my children don't like me doing that though, and eating chocolate, especially.

Now, you might have written down things like, engaging in a bit of mindfulness and appreciating the things that we've got around us.

Maybe you took some time to read quietly or maybe you thought positively about yourself, told yourself how great you were.

Maybe you engaged in some exercise as well.

Maybe you did some deep breathing to calm ourselves down or maybe you just decided to talk to a friend or, again, to a trusted adult that you could go to for support.

Now, in future lessons in this unit, we are going to be focusing a little bit more on engaging with some of these coping strategies that we can employ to really help support our positive mental health.

But the key learning points from this lesson, are that we all have mental health and that mental health is completely normal, as is anxiety.

And there are many things that we can do to manage our everyday feelings, and particularly, talking to a trusted adult can really help.

And that brings us to the end of the lesson.

Well done, I'm really impressed with how hard you've worked.

And now I need to finish off by completing the exit quiz, just to really consolidate and embed all of that learning into our brains.

Well done, and I'm really looking forward to working with your next lesson.

See you then.

Bye for now.