Knitting for Wellbeing and Other New Groups at Mental Health Association


Community volunteers Janet Forbes (left) and Jeanette Moore (right) assisted Becky Hemmis at the Knitting for Wellbeing group that meets on Wednesday mornings at the Mental Health Association. The focus and repetitive action of knitting helps with wellness recovery, and both men and women are encouraged to participate.

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Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County

Knitting for Wellbeing is one of the new groups that meet weekly at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore lead the class at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. No experience is necessary, and a starter kit is provided. Both men and women are encouraged to participate.

The focus and repetitive action that knitting requires help with wellness recovery.

Forbes explained, “I decided to start this class because I know from a lifetime of knitting that it helps me relax, stay grounded, frees my busy mind while enjoying the rhythm of clicking needles. And it’s just plain fun.  Plus I end up with a hat, baby blanket, dishcloth, or scarf for a gift!”

At the first class, one participant said she wanted to learn to knit so she could make gifts for her first grandbaby that will be born in the fall. By her second class she had made a cell phone holder as well as a small shawl for herself. A young woman said she may reach out to her grandmother, a knitter, for help as she learns this new skill. Participants as well as the instructors help each other along, and all enjoy chatting and learning together.

Sean Jones, local chef and former owner of Jones Valhalla, has teamed up with the MHA and Daniel Brown of Farm Fresh Foods to offer a Recovery Cooking Skills group. At 10:30 on Monday mornings, Jones demonstrates some basic cooking skills for those who lack them or who need a refresher or encouragement to try again. As the owner of Farm Fresh Foods, Brown has made the donation establishing the partnership.  The class runs through May.

Another new group is Eating Smart and Being Active that meets on Thursdays at 1 p.m. It is led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educator Else Alonge.

New participants are welcome to all groups, and there is no charge for any of the MHA’s services or programs.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of Jamestown’s Gateway Center.

MHA is a peer-run organization that 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.

To learn more about the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit  or