18 June 2015

Young People in Brighton & Hove had the opportunity last week to take part in a therapeutic intervention with a difference – an outdoor counselling programme with a therapy dog named Pooka!

The innovative ‘Walk & Talk’ programme, which is the first of its kind in the city, uses a special therapy dog to support young people experiencing social anxiety and is free for young people 18-25s in Brighton & Hove.

The programme is run by award winning, youth-led mental health & emotional wellbeing project Right Here.The programme has been a huge success, with all young people who attended reporting a decrease in their anxiety levels after taking part in the programme.

Right Here’s Project Manager, said:

‘Companion animals such as dogs can engage us on an empathic level and heighten our awareness of how we relate to those around us. Dogs live in the present moment and offer us non-judgemental, honest feedback in a way that humans often don’t. They teach us to be more aware of the connections between our mind, body and emotions, which can be really helpful when learning to manage mental health issues like anxiety. Pooka has given these young people an opportunity to relate with themselves and others in a different way!”

A young person from Brighton who took part in the programme said:

“It helped with my anxiety… the dog really helped and was a real icebreaker. It was a real confidence boost.”

The next Walk & Talk is planned for 7th July and places are filling up fast! You can book a place on Walk & Talk for yourself or for someone you know by visiting the Right Here website or contacting Kate.Watts@ymcadlg.org 07850 500420