Iris Healing® Retreat, Woodland Hills, CA

Mental Health Group Activities to Promote Sustainable Wellness

Understand how mental health group activities can foster connection, encourage shared experiences, and promote sustainable wellness.

mental health group activities

Article Contents

What Are Mental Health Group Activities?

Mental health group activities are structured interactions. They are designed to promote communication and build relationships. 

They are also designed to create and sustain personal growth among people who share common mental health experiences.1

These activities play a significant role in promoting overall well-being and recovery. Here’s how:

Facilitates Shared Experiences

Mental health groups provide a platform for people to share their experiences and challenges. These work to foster a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding. 

This shared experience can significantly reduce feelings of isolation. Isolation is a common symptom of many mental health disorders.

Improves Communication Skills

Many mental health groups involve active participation and dialogue. This can help individuals enhance their communication skills. 

Improved communication is crucial for expressing feelings, setting boundaries, and building healthier relationships.

Provides Peer Support

Mental health group activities cultivate an environment of peer support. People can give and receive advice from others facing similar challenges. This works to create a supportive network that can be extremely beneficial in the recovery process.

Teaches Coping Strategies

Participants learn various coping strategies from each other and the group facilitator. This is through mental health group activities. This can enhance their toolkit for managing symptoms and stressors associated with their mental health conditions.

Promotes Self-Awareness

Mental health group activities often involve introspection and self-reflection. This aids individuals in better understanding their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Increased self-awareness can lead to more effective management of mental health symptoms.

Encourages Responsibility

Being part of a group can foster a sense of responsibility towards oneself and others. Regular attendance and active participation in mental health group activities can instill discipline and routine. These are key components of sustainable wellness and recovery.

Offers Perspective

By hearing others’ stories and experiences, participants gain diverse perspectives. This can provide insight into their own situations. 

This can lead to increased empathy, understanding, and acceptance. All of these are critical for mental health recovery.

Boosts Self-Esteem

Mental health group activities often involve tasks that give a sense of achievement when completed. This sense of accomplishment can motivate individuals to continue working on their recovery.

Examples of Mental Health Group Activities Commonly Used in Therapeutic Settings

Mental health group activities are used in various therapeutic settings. Here are some examples of mental health group activities:

Psychoeducational Activities

These types of mental health group activities involve learning about various aspects of mental health disorders. They also involve learning about treatments and coping strategies. 

The goal is to empower people with knowledge. This works to reduce fear and stigma while promoting proactive management of their mental health.2

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Groups

In these mental health group activities, participants learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors.3 This is done under the guidance of a therapist. The group setting allows participants to learn from others’ experiences and feedback.

Art Therapy Activities

Art can be a powerful medium for expression and healing. In these mental health group activities, participants may paint, draw, or craft to express their feelings and emotions.4 

The process can provide insights into their mental state and serve as a starting point for group discussion.

Role-Playing Activities

These mental health group activities involve acting out different scenarios. These scenarios are used to practice communication, problem-solving, and coping strategies. They help participants better understand and manage their reactions in real-life situations.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Activities

This involves activities like guided meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. These can help group members manage stress and anxiety, promote self-awareness, and improve focus. These practices can be easily integrated into their daily routine for ongoing mental health support.

Support Group Discussions

These discussions are fundamental mental health group activities. Here, participants share their experiences, feelings, and coping strategies. 

A therapist or trained facilitator usually guides the discussion. This is done to ensure it remains supportive and constructive.

Physical Activity or Exercise Groups

Many mental health group activities incorporate physical exercises. Examples include group walks, yoga, or dance. 

Regular physical activity can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while also improving mood.

Music Therapy Activities

These involve the use of music to facilitate emotional expression and healing. Group members might create music, listen to music, or discuss lyrics as a form of therapy.

Journaling Activities

In these activities, participants are encouraged to write about their thoughts. They are also encouraged to write about their emotions and experiences. Sharing and discussing these journal entries in the group can foster mutual understanding and support.

Narrative Therapy Activities

These mental health group activities involve participants sharing their personal stories and life experiences. This can help people reframe their narratives in a more empowering light and promote healing.

These mental health group activities can significantly contribute to individuals’ therapeutic process. This works to help facilitate interaction, introspection, learning, and healing.

Potential Benefits of Participating in Mental Health Group Activities

Participating in mental health group activities can offer several unique benefits. This is especially the case compared to individual therapy or treatment. Here’s how:

Feedback and Perspective

Mental health group activities offer participants the opportunity to receive feedback from multiple perspectives. 

Listening to others’ viewpoints can provide new insights and strategies for dealing with personal challenges and overcoming obstacles.


In many cases, mental health group activities can be more cost-effective than individual therapy. This can make mental health support more accessible for individuals who may be deterred by the cost of individual therapy.

Promotes Altruism

Participating in mental health group activities also provides opportunities to support and help others in the group. The act of helping others can enhance one’s self-esteem and contribute to personal healing.

Normalization of Experiences

Being part of a group can help normalize experiences and feelings that an individual may otherwise find distressing. This can reduce feelings of shame, stigma, or isolation associated with mental health disorders.

Instilling Hope

Seeing others who are dealing with similar challenges making progress can instill hope. It can also motivate people in their recovery journey. Mental health group activities often feature success stories and milestones that serve as powerful motivation.

Individual therapy has its unique benefits. However, mental health group activities offer a different kind of support and learning experience. This can be profoundly beneficial in promoting overall well-being and recovery.

Factors to Consider When Designing Mental Health Group Activities to Ensure Inclusivity and Accessibility?

Designing mental health-focused group activities that are inclusive and accessible requires careful planning. This is because there are several factors that need to be considered in the development of these mental health group activities.
Some of the main considerations that should be kept in mind include the following:

Cultural Sensitivity

Mental health group activities should be respectful. They should also be inclusive of different cultural backgrounds. Language, traditions, norms, and perspectives should be recognized and integrated into activities. 


It’s essential to recognize that many people dealing with mental health issues may have experienced trauma. As such mental health group activities should not unintentionally risk or cause traumatic memories. Also, facilitators should be trained in trauma-informed care.

Physical Accessibility

The location should be physically accessible to everyone. This will include ensuring the availability of ramps, handrails, wide doorways, etc. Also, considering digital activities for those who can’t attend in person can be helpful.

Safe Space

The environment should be non-judgmental, welcoming, and safe. Participants should feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment or stigma. Ground rules for respectful communication should be set and enforced.

Language Accessibility

All materials and discussions should be easily understood by all participants. In cases where the counselor is working with a multilingual group, translation or interpretation services should be considered.

Age-Appropriate Content

Mental health group activities should be appropriate for the age group of the participants. This is because different age groups have different needs. They also have different interests and capacities to understand and engage with activities.


Participants should be sure that their personal information and discussions will remain confidential. This helps to build trust and encourages open discussion.

Financial Accessibility

Cost should not be a barrier to participation. Activities should be affordable or free if possible, and options for financial aid or sliding scale fees should also be available.

Consider Different Learning Styles

People have different learning styles. Some people are visual learners, others prefer listening, and others learn by doing. 

So, mental health group activities should be mixed if at all possible. This can help ensure that everyone has the chance to engage in a way that suits them best.

Psychological Safety

Coordinators of mental health group activities should ensure that there are supports in place if a participant experiences emotional distress during or after an activity. This could include having a mental health professional present or on call.

Flexible Participation

Some individuals might feel uncomfortable with certain activities. So alternative ways to participate or the option to sit out without penalty should be offered.

Regular Feedback

Mental health group activities should also include regular feedback. Regular feedback from participants ensures that the activities are meeting their needs. It also helps to ensure improvements can be made.

Gender Sensitivity

It’s important to ensure that activities are inclusive and safe for people of all gender identities. This includes using correct pronouns and avoiding gender stereotypes.


Mental health group activities should also consider participants who may have neurodiverse conditions. This includes conditions like autism and ADHD. Providing clear instructions, and allowing for breaks, or providing quiet spaces could be beneficial.

By considering these factors, it will be possible to design mental health-focused group activities that are inclusive, accessible, and beneficial to a wide range of participants.

Is Group Therapy For Everyone?

Group therapy is a valuable tool that can help people gain understanding, receive support, and improve their mental health. However, it is not for everyone. Whether group therapy is suitable or beneficial depends on several factors.
Some key ones include the following:
  • The individual
  • Their specific needs
  • Their comfort with group settings.
Some other factors that might play a role will be detailed below.

Comfort Level with Groups

Some people might feel overwhelmed or anxious in group settings. This might make group therapy a less effective approach for them. Others may prefer one-on-one interactions with a therapist.

Ability to Share

Group therapy requires a level of openness and vulnerability. If someone is very private or has difficulty trusting others, they might struggle with sharing personal feelings and experiences in a group.

Stage of Treatment

Some people might not be ready for group therapy. This is especially true if they are at the beginning of their treatment and may benefit from individual therapy first. As they make progress, they may become more comfortable with the idea of group therapy.

Crisis Situation

Group therapy may not be appropriate for people in immediate crisis or who are suicidal. More intensive and individualized care may be needed in these situations. 


People with certain comorbid conditions, like severe mental illness, might require additional support to participate in group therapy effectively. 

mental health group activities

How Can Iris Healing Help?

Want to learn more about how mental health group activities work? Or are you looking for a treatment center that offers excellent mental health group activities? Whichever the case is, Iris Healing is the perfect place for you.
At Iris Healing, you’ll get the emotional, spiritual, and physical care you need to take control of your addiction and start leading the life you want. We also offer holistic therapies combined with a unique patient-first approach.

What Do We Offer?

Iris Healing offers multiple therapies and treatments for those struggling with substance use disorders. 

We can provide:

  • Holistic approaches, such as yoga, meditation, and massage therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Neurofeedback
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Family therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

Reach Out and Begin Healing

Reach out to us today to gain access to premium mental health group activities. We will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and symptoms for overall healing.

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