AIM To design a program targeting recovery of self-esteem in patients with mental disorders, and to clarify the changes after the program to determine its effectiveness. METHODS This study employed a one group pre- and post design, which comprised baseline, post-intervention, and 3 month follow-up phases, and recruited 41 Japanese patients with mental disorders living in the community. The authors administered the nurse-led group cognitive-behavioral therapy program for the recovery of self-esteem, which comprised 12 sessions, to the participants. The follow-up investigations were conducted immediately and 3 months after the program. The present authors used the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Subjective Well-Being Inventory (SUBI), and Test to Determine the Characteristics of Ideas as subjective measures and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) as an objective measure. RESULTS After controlling for the factors of medication and use of social services, improvement was observed in all measures of evaluation. The authors identified improvement at post-intervention and follow up. The scores for the RSES, BPRS, confidence in coping, and inadequate mental mastery at post-intervention and follow up were significantly higher than those at baseline, and these beneficial effects were maintained 3 months after the program. CONCLUSION The program may aid in recovering and maintaining self-esteem of patients suffering from mental disorders. However, it is necessary to conduct a randomized controlled clinical trial to confirm these findings.