Resident therapy bunnies help boost student wellbeing

“We deal with mental health issues on a regular basis and felt that having the rabbits would be a positive way of accessing students who perhaps wouldn't come forward for help otherwise.

Natalie Robinson, ResLife Officer

A pair of therapy bunnies have moved into a new home at Staffordshire University to help boost student wellbeing.

Animal therapy is known to improve mental health, reduce stress and lower blood pressure and the ResLife team recently introduced rabbits Nibbles and Nugget.

ResLife strive to create a safe and friendly community on campus and specially trained staff provide round-the-clock support for students.

Natalie Robinson, ResLife Officer, explained: “We deal with mental health issues on a regular basis and felt that having the rabbits would be a positive way of accessing students who perhaps wouldn't come forward for help otherwise.

“The rabbits are accessible 24/7 and provide a little bit of a retreat for students. Through this we can better look after student welfare and make sure that they are living in a happy environment.”

21-year-old student Holly Hunt, who studies BSc (Hons) Psychology, regularly visits the rabbits and helps to care for them.

“It's amazing what they are doing for mental health here. I've had a lot of problems in my third year with stress around deadlines and unique circumstances that have been really hard on me.

“It is nice to come here and just take yourself out of a situation for twenty minutes or however long you need. To sit with the rabbits and have that connection with something that isn't judging you is a good way to calm down.”

The rabbits live in the ResLife community garden on campus and any student can visit the pets for a cuddle. This week, the bunnies were rehomed into a spacious 10ft shed fitted with an outdoor run thanks to the Staffordshire University Horizon Fund.

Nichola Edwards, Development & Alumni Relations Advisor, said: “It's through generous donations from our supporters that we are able to raise money for the Horizon Fund which provides scholarships, bursaries and opportunity awards. Donations made through the Enabling Students Appeal allow us to give to these other initiatives that also benefit student welfare, enabling them to get the most out of their time with us.”

“We know that mental health issues are prevalent among young people so creating this new space where students who may be missing home, or even their own pets, can spend time with the rabbits is really worthwhile.”

Contact

Amy Platts
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t: +44(0) 1782 292702
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e: amy.platts@staffs.ac.uk