According to the Straits Times, animals can provide significant emotional support to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. Patients with autism or similar disorders also derive benefit from connecting with various types of animals. Discover how these creatures can serve a therapeutic purpose.

The Support Duck

One woman, Carla Fitzgerald, has experienced bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ever since she suffered an accident in 2013. The pet who helps her manage her anxiety is Daniel, now-famous as the “emotional support duck.” Daniel became a media sensation when he boarded a plane with his 37-year-old owner. His red shoes, nappy, and cheerful demeanour attracted the attention of passengers and crew.

A New Range of Pets

Traditional pets such as dogs and cats have long been used in nursing homes, care facilities, retirement communities and rehabilitation centres to help patients cope emotionally. The presence of the animals has a calming, therapeutic effect and seems to cheer the patients up. However, more and more kinds of animals seem to be entering the “emotional support” business. There are cases of miniature horses, chickens, pigs, and turkeys being used in this way.

How It Works

How do these pets or support animals actually help someone? They really don’t have to do much. Just being present in the room is sometimes enough. Patients with depression, autism, or mental disorders find it comforting to interact with a living being who doesn’t judge them or talk back. They find solace in petting the animals, playing with them, feeding them treats, or simply watching them. Sometimes, a support animal serves as an emotional bridge, helping the patient open up and communicate better with other people who are sharing the experience.

Dogs can be particularly helpful, since they need to be walked every day. People with dogs are practically forced to get outside, experience nature, and get some exercise. The more exotic animals like pigs, turkeys, rabbits, horses, guinea, or chickens are fascinating for children, especially those with autism. They can learn to care for the animals and observe them as a kind of therapy.

Alternative Holistic Therapies for Mental Health in Singapore

If you’re interested in the benefits of emotional support animals and holistic therapies, contact the Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We emphasise the use of holistic treatments, included art therapy and clinical hypnosis, as well as other techniques to reframe the mind and achieve a better mental balance.

Our Singapore psychiatrists are up to date on the latest therapies and techniques, and we would be happy to discuss the right course of treatment for a young person in your life who may be struggling with autism, PTSD, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, or depression. Find help today by visiting our website and filling out our short contact form.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, 3 April 2017