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Crafting for mental health

Friday, 30 September 2016 Lily

Lily blogs about two things close to her heart - crafting and mental health.

I’m Lily and I want to talk to you about two things close to my heart – crafting and mental health. Last year my sister Emma and I organised a Mind Crafternoon and I’m hoping you’ll think about holding one, too.

When I was seven years old I was diagnosed with mild autism. After that I was bullied and at secondary school I started having bad panic attacks, which continued for many years. I call these my 'dark years'. I suffered from anxiety, depression, an eating disorderand I self-harmed. But I still couldn’t get the help I needed because I was under 18.

"I started making videos to try to let other people know that there is a way out."

I felt so strongly about this that I started making videos to try and help others going through similar experiences, because when I was young I felt very alone. Although I still have panic attacks from time to time, I'm pretty much recovered now with the help of medication and therapy, and I try to let other people know that there is a way out. 

I discovered Mind when I was going through a bad time and trying to find out more about depression and anxiety online. That’s when I came across Mind’s website and all the mental health information, blogs and videos with people sharing their own experiences.

Crafting runs in my family. My mum is a keen knitter and my sister is always making something. Both my grans could make dresses and knitted and crocheted. Myself, I like crocheting, but at the moment I mainly do print-making (I must start making Christmas cards soon!)

When my sister Emma heard about Mind’s Christmas Crafternoon, it seemed like the perfect fit – a way to combine our love of crafting with fundraising for a cause close to our hearts. Because most of the people we invited weren't crafters themselves, Emma planned a few activities, and we just used tools and materials we had to hand. The lads had a competition to make the best gingerbread house and got right into it (I'd recommend this to anyone with partners or friends who aren’t into crafting). Everyone loved making the Christmas tree decorations – gingerbread men, stockings, pompoms and paper cut-outs. 

We talked a bit about  Mind and mental health issues at the Crafternoon, but also messaged everyone afterwards saying how much it meant to us. I think everyone had a good time, but you can see for yourself because I filmed the whole thing.

If you'd like to find out more about running your own Crafternoon, you can find out how and order your free Crafternoon pack here.

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