Mental well-being pilot program for high–school children: ‘Cooking for Mental Health – Teenagers’

For a couple of years I have been running workshops and talks on stress. But as a mother of two (young) teenagers, my antenna is more and more aimed at this age-group. And it seemed that there is an increasing number of stories and cases of mental disorders in this age-group. Unfortunately the numbers seem to back this up.

The majority of the global disability burden is now taken up by mental disorders and half of that number of cases is first manifested in people as young as 14. And despite the recognition and available treatment, this number is only on the rise.

Numerous studies partaken globally have shown that an unhealthy diet is linked to more emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. An unhealthy diet has a direct influence on that part of the brain that are critical to learning, memory and mental health. n a science-based program I have developed we are looking at the link between our mental health and the lifestyle we live. In this program we discuss 5 areas in our lives which we have control over and which we can use to improve our mental well being. The program is set up that it is suitable for different learning styles and interactive. The accompanied workbook helps the participants to retain the information which is learned.

The participants had the following to say about the program:

To the question: Do you think it is a good idea for the school to have a program for mental health and lifestyle, the vast majority agreed that it was in fact, helpful.

To the question ‘Do you think the information will help you to look after yourself?’ again the majority was a solid ‘yes’. Some of added some more information like:

  • ‘ This teaches us to look after ourselves’
  • ‘ It shows us what WE can do’
  • ‘ I will consider not to eat Doritos’
  • ‘ I want to learn more about how food affects my brain’
  • ‘ I like my body, I want it to be fit ‘

The feedback of the teachers was positive as well. They were surprised by some of the information and thought it was an important life skill for this age-group to learn.

If you want to participate in this program or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on:



mobile: 61 416 931 034