A Character-Led Approach to Supporting Wellbeing in Young People| Amazing People Schools 

The School Report Blog

A Character-Led Approach to Supporting Wellbeing in Young People| Amazing People Schools 

Continuing with the theme of supporting young people’s mental health, Amazing People Schools explores why wellbeing means more than exercise, sleep, and food.


What is Wellbeing?

Whilst most parents, carers and teachers are aware of the importance of wellbeing in young people, it can be hard to define. A person’s wellbeing is strongly correlated to a person’s life satisfaction and is an integrated system of a person’s physical, emotional, social and, at times spiritual, health. Long-standing evidence suggests that physical exercise, and adequate amounts of sleep and healthy foods contribute to a person’s wellbeing, but wellbeing is more than exercise, sleep, and food. The emotional, social, and spiritual domains that are necessary for a young person’s overall and holistic wellbeing must also be addressed. Character development can help to support these areas of a young person’s development. Here’s how:


Emotional Wellbeing

Research indicates that various aspects contribute to a person’s mood. These include their environment, and the people they live and surround themselves with. Additionally, a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours largely contribute to their mood and mental health. For example, we all find ourselves in everyday situations which result in us having specific thoughts that can be helpful or unhelpful, rational or irritational. These thoughts, which are automatic, generate certain emotions within us, and can result in certain behaviours. Whilst we are all prone to having unhelpful thinking styles, such as overgeneralising or catastrophising, we can often look at the behaviour of others for inspiration. By doing so, we are likely to feel less distressed, and will generate more positive emotions, leading us to behave in ways that may align with our values and character, which can promote better wellbeing. Therefore, it is imperative that young people surround themselves with positive role-models, that practise key character strengths, such as optimism, integrity, gratitude and open-mindedness.


Amazing People Schools resources connect strengths with the achievements of a diverse range of inspirational historical and contemporary role-models. Having a good sense of their own character strengths will contribute to a young person’s identity, and ultimately increase their self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing. The more a person can identify and utilise these character strengths in everyday situations, the more confident and fulfilled they are going to feel.


Negative and unhelpful thoughts tend to trigger emotions within young people, which can cause their mood to quickly decline and lead them to engage in inappropriate thoughts and behaviour. This negativity can further precipitate poor mental health outcomes and wellbeing if their actions do not align with their inner expectations, such as their values and character. External factors, such as the expectations of friends or family, can also impact on a young person’s mental health. It is important that young people are aware of their inner character strengths, and how they can support them in all areas of their life.


Using character strengths is essential to wellbeing, as it involves reflecting on our thoughts, feelings and actions and allows us to use cognitive strengths and flexibility in our thinking. Adaptability, resilience, and perseverance are key strengths in enabling flexible and reflective thinking. The more helpful and positive our thoughts, feelings, and actions, the higher the possibility of obtaining good wellbeing.


Social Wellbeing

Humans are social beings; therefore, we need social connections for good wellbeing. When people experience depression, it can be related to isolation. Research shows that social isolation contributed to some young people’s wellbeing and mental health declining during the COVID crisis.


Developing adequate social skills is necessary for sustaining emotionally healthy social connections. Social skills are intertwined with a young person’s character, and strengthening character helps connecting, socialising, and making and maintaining relationships easier. Character strengths, such as empathy and humility, are necessary for individuals to develop perspective and understand other people’s perspectives, which is essential for building relationships. Additionally, character teaches the expression and reflection of one’s core values and morals, which encourages citizenship that builds connections on a wider societal level and contributes to positive communities. Amazing people from history that have been instrumental in building better societies include Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King jr., who both campaigned for equal rights.


Amazing People Schools highlights the links between the positive social behaviour encouraged through practising character strengths, and wellbeing. For example, practising gratitude helps us to find reasons to be thankful, which creates a positive shift in attitude. Also, people who show gratitude are happier overall.


Spiritual Wellbeing

Spiritual connections do not get emphasised as much as physical, emotional, and social connections. However, it is equally as important for increased wellbeing. We know that certain cultures place great emphasis on spiritual wellbeing, as do certain religions. Amazing People Schools ensure that the resources represent a diverse range of cultures, for example those from China, Africa, South America, and New Zealand. Having a strong sense of identity, faith and spirituality can help young people cope with adversity and offer peaceful and meaningful connections bigger than oneself, which in turn can generate positive emotions, such as a sense of acceptance, optimism, and gratitude.


Try it out for free 

Amazing People Schools www.amazingpeopleschools.com is an award-winning character-based learning platform for primary and secondary schools. Through the stories of diverse achievers from throughout history and across the world, it supports the development of character strengths, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing and cross-curricular learning. Sign up to try it out for free here – https://uk.amazingpeopleschools.com/#/free-access/.