Did you know that knitting and other crafts are proven to help your mental health? The rhythmic motion and focus of crafts like knitting, crochet and cross-stitch to name just a few can distract from the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression and even reduce the physical symptoms like high blood pressure and a fast heart rate. The repetitive movements have even been found to have the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session!
This Autumn and Winter we’re asking you to take some time out from your daily routine and stress, gather some friends and get stitching to not only help your own mental health but to help fund our vital research that’s working towards improving mental health for children with brain conditions.
Mental health is very important to us here at Cerebra as anxiety and low mood is a widespread problem for children with genetic syndromes and intellectual disability – more common than it is for the general population.
However, most diagnostic tests for anxiety involve people being able to communicate how they are feeling to doctors and other professionals. For children with these disabilities, it’s incredibly difficult for them to firstly identify that what they’re feeling is anxiety and, as many are minimally verbal, to communicate this to someone else.
If we can’t accurately identify that a child is feeling anxious then we can’t put in place measures to help them so many children are continuing to struggle with unrecognised, debilitating feelings of anxiety.
Our research at the Cerebra Network of Neurodevelopmental Disorders is tackling this problem head on. Dr Hayley Crawford and Dr Jane Waite are leading a ground-breaking study of children with genetic syndromes and intellectual disability to understand what anxiety looks like in these children and to therefore improve assessments for anxiety.
They will also use experimental techniques to identify and understand the risk factors and characteristics that place a child at higher risk for experiencing mental health problems.
This research will help the team to develop and pilot an intervention that will improve the negative impact of mental health problems for children with genetic conditions and intellectual disability.