Healing Hounds: Service dogs have been around for years, with most of them accompanying blind, mobility impaired, and even some Deaf people. A growing number of people, however, are now relying on service dogs for assistance in other ways, including support as they deal with mental health issues. Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) have been helping people with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, among other mental conditions. A PSD working with someone who experiences anxiety, for instance, is trained to jump up on the person’s lap to provide comfort. A PSD can remind someone with short-term memory loss when it is time to take medication. A PSD can even provide a reality check for a person with schizophrenia who is not sure if a hallucination is occurring or if there is actually somone in the room. The Psychiatric Service Dog Society states that working with a PSD is a way for people to take charge of their mental health.
Some people disagree that PSDs are the best way for people to cope with mental health issues, believing that it encourages an unhealthy dependence. What do you think?