Pet therapy and mental health

Harley dogAnimals are helping out at Camino Healthcare as part of a pet therapy initiative intended to further the progress of mental health Service Users on their personal journey of recovery.

Increasing evidence suggests that companion animals provide many important physiological, psychological, and social benefits. Research has also demonstrated that clinical outcomes could be enriched through a more holistic and open-minded view of the potential contribution animal bonds have on human healing and well-being.

Following the sessions, we received extremely positive feedback, Service Users stated that they felt “significantly happier” following a pet therapy session whilst staff felt that it left a lasting calming influence inside the Rehabilitation Units.

Sharon Wheeler, Activities Manager for Camino Healthcare said: “We have welcomed therapy dogs and some really large rabbits into our Units – it’s been fantastic to see the impact pet therapy is having. I’ve found that the sessions have had a particularly positive impact on those with anxiety and depression.

“The importance of human-animal bonds has been well documented throughout history, but I feel that the therapy has been undervalued, especially within mental health. It is something we will certainly keep doing here.

“Both staff and Service Users have been involved, and I’m not sure who has enjoyed it more. But the sessions have undoubtedly had a positive effect within our Units.”

This is just one of many activities and therapies which take place in Camino Healthcare’s Mental Health Rehabilitation Units which are based in the West Midlands.

Service Users are also encouraged to take part in an array of events organised by a designated activities team, as well as having access to Psychology and Occupational Therapy.

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