Jamestown, N.Y. – Saturday, June 9, not only marks the opening of the Jamestown Public Market, it is also World Wide Knit in Public Day.
To celebrate both these events, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County’s (MHA) Knitting for Wellbeing group will be part of the Market’s Opening Day festivities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its location between Second and Third Streets in downtown Jamestown. Group members will share their love of knitting and its therapeutic value, while staff and board members showcase all the services and collaborations.
In February, community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore started the Knitting for Wellbeing group that meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. Anyone is welcome to participate and, like all of the MHA’s services and programs, there is no charge.
Forbes, an RN who worked in health care and non-profit organizations before her retirement, has been fascinated by the wealth of recent research that confirms the many benefits of knitting – her lifelong passion. Knitting is linked to reducing depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness and isolation. While distracting from chronic pain, it increases a sense of wellbeing, accomplishment, and inclusion in society. Knitting provides a portable, easy to learn skill that calms the mind and keeps a person’s hands happily occupied while creating beautiful items for oneself or a gift for family and friends.
“We have been delighted with the joy that the participants express with learning a new skill that helps them self-calm and focus while knitting beautiful hats, scarves, and baby items. It is such fun to listen to needles clicking as we chat and learn together,” said Forbes. “Knitting with a variety of yarn textures and colors gives knitters an opportunity to express their creativity and enjoy the tactile and visual aspects of fiber arts.”
Begun in 2005, World Wide Knit in Public Day is the largest knitter-run event in the world. Last year there were 1,125 Knit-In-Public local events, each put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers. Events have been held in 54 different countries including Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United States and more.
A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.
The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.
Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.