Paws for thought

News item posted: 17 March 2017

Turning Point's Midpoint mental health service, in Stevenage, is expanding its ability to provide animal assisted therapy. 

Animal assisted therapy, including caring for and interacting with animals, has been consistently shown to have both short term and long-term benefits for those recovering from serious mental health conditions, building self-confidence and self-esteem, tackling anxiety and depression, and facilitating social interaction, learning and self-motivation.

Midpoint has two cats, two chickens, two ducks and two rabbits - all of these, save the cats, are housed out of doors, and the current work will extend this enclosure to make it easier for individuals at the service to spend time with the animals in their own environment.

Part of the expansion was made possible by money donated by Mark Robertson. Mark, whose brother has used Midpoint, recently ran an ultramarathon in the Atacama desert to raise funds.

Sarah Amondsen, who is a Project Worker at Midpoint, was clear about the benefits of the project:

"Many of the individuals who come to Midpoint struggle with motivation and social interaction, and caring for the animals gives them a sense of responsibility. This can be hugely beneficial for those who use the service, as it helps to build self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as providing a focus that can be very effective in overcoming severe anxiety and depression."