Hemel company teams up with Pets As Therapy to support Mental Health Awareness Week

The team will be raising money for the charity

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 7:08 am

A Hemel Hemsptead company is working with Pets As Therapy and its ambassador, James Middleton, to help raise awareness of mental health and support the charity's fundraising efforts, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Staff from Barking Heads - a natural dog food brand - have been taking on personal challenges to raise money for the charity. Some are attempting half marathons, while others plan to cycle the equivalent of the Tour De France’s first stage. One dog-loving team member is even attempting to cover the elevation of Everest - in Hemel Hempstead.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week, according to mental health charity Mind.

Hemel company teams up with Pets As Therapy to support Mental Health Awareness Week

The national charity, Pets As Therapy (PAT), sends trusted volunteers and their behaviourally assessed animals out on therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes and special needs schools.

The service has a very positive impact on the communities it touches, with studies suggesting that pets can ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve cardiovascular health.

Barking Heads Marketing Director, Julia Anderton said: “Mental Health is a deeply personal battle and pets can provide an invaluable amount of support. We’re all genuine pet-lovers at Barking Heads and most of us own dogs who are an enormous comfort.

"As a closely-knit team, separated by social distancing, we’re all increasingly grateful for the pets who are keeping us company and lifting our spirits!

Staff have beentaking on personal challenges to raise money for the charity

"This collaboration is something each one of us feels very passionate about. We hope by setting ourselves some personal challenges to raise money, we can help Pets As Therapy deliver valuable support to the people who need it most.

"We’re all very thankful to James for joining our community for the live session and helping us get the message out to as many people as possible.”

James Middleton is an ambassador for PAT with first-hand experience of mental health difficulties. He has spoken openly in the past about his personal battles and speaks very passionately about how his own dogs – Ella, Zulu, Inka, Luna and Mabel – helped him on the road to recovery.

Yesterday (Thursday) James was joined by PAT representative, Matthew Robinson, on the Barking Heads Instagram channel to talk about the charity’s work and answered questions from the public.

Staff have beentaking on personal challenges to raise money for the charity

James said: “I believe dogs are the one animal that really love you more than they love themselves. My personal experience of the comfort, happiness and companionship of dogs inspired me to get involved with the PAT team.

"Now, as a result, my own dogs, Ella and Mabel, are both fully-fledged therapy dogs and I’m committed to helping people to learn more about the life-changing support PAT offers.

"This week offers us all an important opportunity to tackle the stigma still so often associated with mental health issues and I’m looking forward to helping Barking Heads in their efforts to raise more awareness and funds.”

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