When random surveys are taken of what worries people the most, the issue that keeps rising to the top of the pile is hooliganism and knife-wielding young people. When you look at police case-studies of the perpetrators of such youth crime, the same family scenario constantly surfaces: neglect, a missing parent or two, a family background lacking in essential ‘tough love' guidelines etc. etc. All of these things, if left unaddressed, can leave children with burgeoning mental health issues that could have been avoided.
Foster parents, who know only too-well about dealing with childhood disruption, often say that they wish mental health services were available to all. It's ironic that they have better access to such services than is available to most parents. It seems that if you're in the system, it's easier to get help, whereas parents are often out there on their own. Foster parents can qualify for remedial services in the home, which involves home visitations from mental health professionals. And, of course, the professional sees a better picture of the family situation.
Many foster parents will cite children who have come to them "wounded". They say that counsellors they have worked with have been very good, but there are just not many people who specialize in children. You can't treat a child as an adult.
Posted by: Uticopa in pets and mental health on
Nov 09, 2009
It's proven! Mental health therapists have discovered that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) increases social interaction and decreases aggression in people with mental disorders. So much so, that sufferers who interact with animals on a regular basis often no longer need medication at all. It's those patients with poor communication skills who are most likely to benefit from participating in AAT programmes, since they find it easier to communicate with others in the presence of animals.
For those who are still not convinced, below are some of the known benefits of having a pet:
Pets can help ease loneliness or isolation. They give us a reason to get up in the morning. They accept us for who we are and don't judge us.
Physical contact is important to our mental health. Stroking and cuddling with a pet is very therapeutic.
Animals improve our mood with their companionship. A pet can provide a reason for living.
Pet owners are more active. The exercise we get from walking, feeding and grooming a pet keeps our minds healthy. We're also likely to laugh and feel more playful when we share our home with a pet.
Routine is beneficial in enhancing emotional stability. Caring for a pet provides a predictable routine and link to reality.
Having a pet improves attention and decreases aggression, anger, stress and anxiety.
Pets can help us relax and forget about our problems for awhile. Gazing at fish in an aquarium is soothing.
For sufferers with more serious disabilities, there are specially-trained psychiatric service dogs, which are usually identified with a cape, tag or harness. These dogs perform specific tasks that mitigate the negative effects of a person's mental illness. For example, a psychiatric service dog might bring patients their medication or lead them to a safe place when they are having a panic attack.