We hope you’ll enjoy looking at the Animal Magic section and feel inspired and equipped to enable patients to have comforting, nurturing, fun, safe contact with animals. The resource was inspired (and funded!) by The Guardian and its super-generous readers when Bright was so fortunate to be one of their Christmas Appeal charities in 2014. The biggest response we got from the warm coverage about mental health wards was about animals, so this website is dedicated to The Guardian and its amazing readers.
Here’s a taste of what’s included in this site
Heaps of Evidence
The evidence base is huge and compelling and the apparent obstacles preventing mental health inpatients from having contact with animals can be addressed with the creativity and compassion which characterise ward staff’s wonderfulness.
Pets are definitely allowed onto mental health wards! The Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health have confirmed this, with the simple and important requirement that this fits in with Trust policy and with patients’ needs and care plans.
Types of Contact
Contact with animals can be on the ward (with resident or visiting pets), off the ward but within the hospital (usually with animals in the garden or a mini-farm) or off site (eg patients helping out at local rescue centres or farms.)
Wards are really creative in enabling patients to have contact with and conversations about animals, as you’ll see throughout this site. Arrangements can be put in place to respond to patients or staff with allergies, phobias – as well as looking after the well-being of those for whom animals are central to their lives, well-being and recovery.