According to data from a recent survey, the majority of college students feel that they’d benefit from an emotional support animal.
Veterinary students at the University of California-Davis and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee have made a case for the long-touted belief that animals can be therapeutic. During a meeting organized by AVMA Vice President, Dr. Grace Bransford, the two schools shared strategies to reduce the stress of university life. As well, 240 of the students took a wellness survey, in which most stated they would be more likely to seek out counseling if it included an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
Although the students don’t have access to animal-assisted therapy on campus, CertaPet (an online service that grants ESA status to qualifying canines) reported that approximately 22,000 users aged 18 to 24 visited their site in November of 2019 alone. “Emotional support animals are incredibly helpful for managing mental health symptoms, as we know, but they are also creating a powerful movement for those who might not otherwise have reached out to seek mental health services,” says Prairie Conlon, Clinical Director at CertaPet. “We need to continue to do whatever we can do to break the stigma of mental health and get people the services they need.”