Stress Relief for Students
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, college students can easily feel anxious trying to balance school, work, friends, and family while also trying to figure out the rest of their lives. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses. Forty million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder and 75 percent of them experience their first episode of anxiety by the age of 22.
One of the most stressful times in the academic year is finals week. With this in mind, officials at Danville Area Community College have arranged to host stress relief/therapy dogs during the Spring 2017 finals week. DACC will host local therapy dog owner Chris Lucas and her associates from Therapy Dogs International and The Lutheran Comfort Dogs organization from Friday, May 12 through Wednesday, May 17 at various locations around campus to bring stress relief and therapeutic benefits to students during their final exams. Times and locations of the visits are noted below:
· Friday, May 12, 10am-Noon, Lincoln Hall Student Union;
· Monday, May 15, 1pm-3pm, Clock Tower Center, hallway before the Library;
· Tuesday, May 16, 1pm-3pm, Mary Miller Center, hallway outside Fitness Center; and
· Wednesay, May 17,10am-Noon, Tech Center break area near vending machines.
In a January 2016 interview with Danville’s Commercial News, Ms. Lucas explained the difference between therapy dogs and assistance or service dogs. “A therapy dog, which is trained by the owner, provides affection and comfort…They do not provide direct assistance to humans and are not mentioned in the Americans with Disabilities Act. An assistance or service dog helps people with disabilities, and is allowed in most public areas…They are legally protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”
When asked why the College chose to host the stress/therapy dogs, Dean of Students Stacy Ehmen noted a 2015 National College Health Assessment that found 30 percent of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance and 85 percent of college students reported they had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year.