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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The power of knitting

Tuesday, 22 May

Last week was hard work, so I was pleased to spend the weekend at home. All the family are with me in Manchester at the moment. Over the weekend, I visited the FutureEverything festival, which celebrates the latest developments in art, music and technology.

The festival took place at many venues across Manchester, including the Victoria Baths, an Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish Baths complex which has been lovingly restored through grants and dedication from the local community.

Knitting group, Manchester

I sat in the grandeur of the Turkish baths knitting with the Crossacres group. This group is a practical example of how elder isolation can be avoided, and also how older people can transfer their skills, memories and wisdom to younger generations. Members of the public had been able to make suggestions for items to be knitted via Twitter, and the group diligently met their requests. The pictures I took say it all – the art of craft, and the tangible links between art, resilience and well-being. Not the political mantra, but the community really functioning as a big society.

This week I’m planning lots of one-to-one catch-ups with colleagues who carry out vital roles within the College, including Dr Michele Hampson about public health, and Dr Helen Miller and Professor Richard Williams about the International Congress. I’m also very much looking forward to Professor Edgar Jones giving the next evening lecture on Wednesday night, entitled Military Psychiatry: a significant contribution or a worthless distraction?

Finally, I’m pleased to see the return of sunshine at long last. At least it has put a temporary end to the constant drip drip in the corner of my room.


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The Power of Knitting: Improving mental and physical health:  On being discharged from hospital after suffering a stroke I found the control in my hand somewhat unreliable, so I picked up some knitting and soon had a new sweater.  Better still -  I have not knocked a cup flying since!!


Morag Anderson

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