The demand for mental health care has exploded since the start of the pandemic. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why new strategies are adopted by community stakeholders. Among these is pet therapy.
“What we are seeing, more and more, are demands at the level of social work and psychoeducation. So, I imagine, it somewhat compensates for the lack of psychological services, because of waiting lists,” says Chantale Gosselin, co-owner and general manager of the Humanimals Clinic.
The help provided by animals has already been proven. For example, by making cats, dogs, birds and even rats available to patients, it is possible to reassure them and thus create a calming climate during consultations.
“The bond of trust will be established more quickly. The child, then the adult too, but above all the child, seeing us act with the animals, it is as if we are sending a message that we can trust him, he is a good person, he does not no harm to her animal, so she won't harm me,” explains Danny Létourneau, psychotherapist and co-owner of the Humanimals Clinic.
Animals have long been recognized as a source of comfort for breaking isolation and loneliness. The current proposal is therefore to use them to improve the supply of mental health care to the public and the private sector, particularly during the context of the pandemic.