What are ideas for group activities for people with mental illness?

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    I'm in my psych clinical and each of the students need to lead a group activity for the patients. one student did stress bingo, meditation, drawing, talking about fears, exercise. it's my time to lead soon and i have a few ideas but i'm worried they won't like it. i thought about doing collages with magazines (but not sure if we can have scissors), decorating picture frames. what are some good ideas?
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

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    We did games like pictionary and activities like decorating cookies. (Everyone had a blast with the cookies, it was great).

    I bought a few "koosh" balls for prizes. I should have bought a lot more, but everyone really had a good time.
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    Body language, medication information, nutrition...
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    Relapse prevention, coping skills, discussion on any local support groups which could be used after discharge (provide meeting times, phone numbers etc).
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    In addition to the above, groups games such as Scattegories or Pictionary, music therapy, and how to journal (give them the option to opt out of sharing what they write though)
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    Do you still need some ideas? I'm a pretty well-seasoned former psych patient who is now a nurse -- ideas for what patients actually like doing ---)

    anything where you win stuff. Even little stuff.
    anything not usually scheduled on the unit. As a patient, I always found art therapy to be fun because most units don't offer that. Decorating cookies also sounds pretty cool...
    anything that can be done outside. x2 points if you're in a non-smoking hospital so your psych patients never get to go outside, anyway, now. Staffing levels and all that.
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    "Making an early warning signs list", medication management, navigating the ___________system, "making small-talk", symptom management....bonus marks if you make them fun!!!!!!
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    When we did our "group" project for Psyc, I was with two other students working with a diverse patient group, set in the milieu. We did a project on sports/exercise, but any topic having to do with your patients works. We started with an ice breaker passing the ball around and introducing ourselves. We did sports charades, but the patients were wayyy too good at it,(i.e. they were a little bored.) We did some yoga, some deep breathing, and some exercise "simon says". The patients really liked their experience in our group and the staff said it was nice to see the patients laughing and having fun. We didn't know what to expect; we had only been in clinical at the mental hospital for three days! Our "group" was 45 minutes long, and we had to ad lib some to get through the time. I would suggest making it fun, and trying to keep them as involved as possible. Our population had seen many students doing these groups, so they know a little of what to expect. That is not really important, but remember that many of your patients are very intelligent. Don't dumb down anything. Also, some patients may not participate, but they are listening, and might join later. Don't worry about that, it is their illness and your instructor knows it. I am writing this b/c I was looking here for ideas and didn't see many. Good luck!
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    When I did psych clinical inpt I did a group with another student on Progressive Muscle Relaxation. It is a VERY effective stress management technique taken out of our stress management workbook. The clients responded really well to it and I even still use it myself. At work we are going to be starting a nurses group soon (I work as a psych RN in the community) but we haven't decided on curricula yet.
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    Watercolor painting might be fun since your can really express your emotions by pushing the colors into on another. And there are some little quick things you can show to paint trees. You don't need fancy stuff just the little kidsets and you can use regular paper or the postcard size watercolor paper. IDK if you have a budget or not.


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