Bring Permanent Animal-Assisted Therapy to the UT Austin campus!

Bring Permanent Animal-Assisted Therapy to the UT Austin campus!

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Beatrice Paksa started this petition to UT students and

It is not a secret that college students are particularly susceptible to mental illness. Being away from home for the first time and having to find a balance between school, friends and being responsible for everything ranging from laundry to grocery shopping can be difficult and stressful at times. I know I certainly struggled with my mental health at times when I came to UT from an entirely different country, all by myself. According to the American Psychological Association, over one-third of first-year college students are impacted by mental illness with the top presenting concerns being anxiety, depression and relationship problems. 

There is extensive research on whether animal-assisted therapy works and compelling data shows that pets have the ability to relieve stress, anxiety and provide comfort to patients. This is also measurable in people without underlying clinical conditions, so in general, the interaction with a pet decreases distress and improves mood. The effects can be measured by the increased release of endorphins in the person interacting with the animal. Endorphins activate opioid receptors in the nervous system, acting like painkillers and producing a good mood.  Real painkillers, however, have a high potential for addiction and side effects, whereas a dog visit has a negligible amount of side effects.

The solution to this could be a partnership with local animal shelters to form/build a permanent and accessible space, where students can spend time with animals. The students would be able to relieve stress, anxiety etc.. and the animals would receive some attention and loving company. This could also be beneficial to homesick students, who miss their own pets and are not able to see them very often. 

Help me bring cruelty-free, animal-assisted therapy that benefits students and animals alike to the UT campus by signing this petition! Thank you so much!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!