PHOTOS BY PHOTOGRAPER/THE PIONEER
We are now diving into week four of the semester and California State University, East Bay, and students are starting to feel the pressure and stress of school. Students dealing with the burden of school-related work intertwine with students struggling with mental health.
It has been reported that 80 percent of students are incapable of performing well on their school responsibilities due to mental health struggles, according to CollegeStats.org, a website that gathers freely available data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, in addition to doing their own analysis.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported in their 2016 survey that animals help people manage their mental health due to trained animal’s ability to provide a, “sense of security and routine that provide[s] emotional and social report.”
Therapy dogs are just one of many types of therapy out there to help students who struggle with mental health. The dogs give comfort and provide emotional support for stressed-out students.
Here at CSUEB, Pause for Paws is a monthly event on campus held by Janice Bulayo, the event coordinator at the Wellness Center, to provide students resources they need in regards to their mental being.
“It is important for students to take a break from their day to take time for [themselves],” explained Bulayo.
Bulayo collaborates with a therapy dog group and has organized other activities to help students relax, even if it’s for just a couple of minutes.
Rick Henika, one of the therapy dog owner volunteers, and his dog, Fulton have teamed up with the Red Cross Shelter and visited fire survivors in Chico, Calif.. With the help of Fulton’s presence, it was easier for the fire survivors to open up about their recent trauma.
“We have heard many [of the fire survivors] stories, mainly because it’s a trusting venue,” Henika said in an interview. “When people sit down with a dog present, it is usually a trusting, comforting venue.” “Which is probably the therapy aspect [and] it’s the way how the dogs look at you too,” continued Henika.
Although there are many services that the Health and Wellness Center that can also provide therapy and emotional support, students are able to receive a different, more loving form of community through the Pause for Paws events.
“Having therapy dogs on campus provide a quick pick me up, because these cute dogs are easily accessible for anyone who is feeling down,” said Brandon Pham, a CSUEB student who stopped by the Pause for Paws event on Aug. 27.