Can cats hold the key to better mental health?

Pause Cat Cafe in Bournemouth launches #FelineGood campaign to address the winter blues.
Pause Cat Cafe in Bournemouth launches #FelineGood campaign to address the winter blues.

Pause Cat Cafe in Bournemouth launches #FelineGood campaign to address the winter blues.

A series of wellbeing events will be held at the cafe over the next month and the cafe hopes the campaign will get people talking about mental health both online and in the community.

The South’s first cat cafe is a home for 12 rescue cats and is founded on the mission of kindness: to animals, the community and the environment.

The #FelineGood campaign aims to bring a bit of joy to the local community at what is a difficult time of year for many, by addressing the issues of depression and anxiety, get people talking and encourage people to take positive action to help themselves and others via a range of health and wellbeing events.

25% of people in the UK suffer from mental ill health, and Bournemouth is significantly above the national average (2).

Spending time with animals has been found to reduce stress, anxiety and release serotonin (3); ‘elevating mood, alleviating stress, lowering blood pressure, calming anxiety, and relieving depression’ (4).  Pause Cat Cafe provides an environment in which interaction with animals is overseen by trained and experienced cat care staff, who can ensure safety for both cats and visitors.

The events in the Café include cat yoga, mindfulness, positive thinking and creative workshops and are intended to increase the sense of connection with others, reduce loneliness, and improve wellbeing for those who are feeling low. As well as getting out of the house, talking therapies and exercise, the NHS also suggest healthy eating as a practical way to avoid winter blues, so each event includes time in the cafe afterwards to try the healthy vegan and vegetarian food and drinks.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that the NHS estimates to affect approximately one in 15 people in the UK and this can be a particularly stressful time of year for students with exams. Students are less likely to seek help for their mental health but the number of young people experiencing mental illness is steadily increasing.

As part of the campaign, Pause aims to reduce exam stress by inviting students to study with cats in the cafe with free entry on weekdays throughout exam period (subject to terms and conditions).

Look out for #FelineGood posts on social media and visit wwwpausecatcaf .com to find out about the events.

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