The Value of Craft on World Mental Health Day

In case you missed it, yesterday was World Mental Health Day, a day to focus on your mental well-being and those of others. This subject is so important at this time as we have all had an exceptionally tough year where our mental fortitude has been called into question.

Now I’m no expert in this area, but I have witnessed how mental illness and struggles with mental health have affected friends and family over the years. Each situation was different, but I did find that there was one recurring element in the recovery of each person. Craft. From woodworking to cooking, knitting to gardening, I have experienced first-hand how people can recover by finding a creative pursuit where they can focus their time and energy.

Gardening Man WoodworkingWoman Knitting Man Cooking

Craft has long been seen as a positive route to recovery for mental and occupational health. After the WW2, many soldiers suffering from PTSD or personal injury would be enouraged to use different forms of craft to aid recovery. Today, some of you may have read that the NHS subscribe craft as a treatment for patients suffering with mental anxiety and mindfulness for adults and children is the modern coping mechanism that links mental fortitude with craft.

In the Spring and Summer I was following the Crafts Council and reading how they were supporting creatives and artists through the most challenging period of lockdown and I came across an interesting article about why craft is good for your mental health. They came up with 4 strong reasons: 

  1. Engaging with the arts boosts mental wellbeing
  2. Craft has long been used to help with anxiety
  3. It brings people together
  4. There are positive links between craft and the cognitive skills of stroke and dementia patients.

I encourage you to read the full article as it really resonated with me and I’m sure it will with many of you. 

As weaver, I can totally relate to all of these through personal experience and friends and family around me. When I need personal headspace, feel stressed or need companionship, I reach for a loom, pull out the dye pots, wind skeins or dust of my spinning wheel. And if I’m really trying to find distance from work, I bake, build Lego with my kids or grab some colouring pencils and doodle. All of these creative outlets are my go-to ways of finding balance in my life.

Kids Weaving Dye Pot Winding Yarn Women Weaving

So even though you may have missed that World Mental Health Day was yesterday, it really is world mental health day every day. We all need checks and balances for keeping us happy and healthy. I encourage you all to find an outlet for remaining creative even in the toughest of times and if I can help in any way as a life-long creative, give me a shout!

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