Miniature farm brings big joy to mental health patients

23rd December 2019

Fur and feathered therapy was the order of the day when a miniature farm visited Pebble Lodge, the children and young people’s inpatient mental health unit in Bournemouth.

Patients and staff got up close with pint-sized sheep, goats, a tortoise, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs, ducks, a donkey, horses and even an alpaca.

Rachael Pankhurst, former ward clerk at the Dorset Healthcare-run unit in Westbourne, organised the visit from Hampshire-based Mucky Bucket Farm, and it was made possible by generous public donations.

She said: “Animals are known to ease stress, anxiety and depression so this was the ideal visit and activity for our patients. All the young people really enjoyed the time they spent with the animals. And the staff loved it too.

“The visit was funded by money raised by the public for activities that patients have asked for. We are very grateful to everyone that has donated – it allows us to arrange a range of activities that young people can really benefit from.”

Pebble Lodge, part of Dorset HealthCare’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), is a specialist psychiatric unit. It provides 24-hour assessment, treatment and care for children and young people with severe mental health problems and who pose a risk to themselves, others or their environment.

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