The use of animals in a therapeutic environment has been gaining attention in recent years, with numerous studies highlighting their positive impact on mental health. Cascade Academy recognizes the value of animal therapy and creates opportunities for students to connect with dogs, cats, chickens and occasionally baby goats. These animals have been shown to have a calming effect on anxious students and can help them to manage their stress. They also provide exposure opportunities for students with contamination disorders.
Research has shown that interacting with animals can have a significant impact on reducing anxiety and stress levels. In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, patients with anxiety and depression who spent time with therapy dogs experienced a reduction in their symptoms. Another study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced less stress and felt more satisfied with their work-life balance.
Animals at Cascade Academy provide a positive distraction for the students and serve as a source of comfort and security. The chickens are gentle creatures that can help to reduce stress and bring a sense of calm to the environment. The dogs, in particular, are well known for their therapeutic benefits. Students can interact with the dogs, take them for walks, and form bonds with them, which can have a profound impact on their mental health. The goats and other farm animals bring joy and laughter to the environment, and students can participate in activities such as feeding, petting, and caring for the animals.
As students at Cascade Academy progress through treatment they begin to look for opportunities to push through their own fears and anxiety and serve those around them. Having animals on campus allows them the opportunity to do just that.