World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10, and with South Africa having the sixth highest rate of suicide in Africa, it is important that we recognise mental health and how we can support family and friends.
Marycke Ackhurst, Hill’s pet behaviour expert, says that the emotional bond that pets can provide can make a real difference in the lives of individuals suffering from depression and anxiety.
The World Health Organisation has reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst 15 to 29-year olds globally and that 79 percent of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
“These are frightening statistics and as a result we are pleased to be able to work with individuals who provide emotional support through specially trained emotional support dogs,” says Ackhurst.
Veterinary social worker Dr Magdie van Heerden says that there is no recipe or intervention with therapeutic animals that will work for everyone or always.