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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2021

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MSWA Volunteer Luncheon | Our new respiratory | Physiotherapy service | Our m contribution to research | Pain and pain management series

COUNSELLING THE

COUNSELLING THE IMPORTANCE OF PETS Anyone who has ever owned a pet will agree that animals are a great source of unconditional love and support. But, for an individual with chronic illness, a furry friend can provide much more than faithful companionship and a good cuddle. Studies show that animals can help with everything from lowering stress and blood pressure to battling depression and healing chronic pain. Here are some of the benefits: Pets reduce stress Many people feel stress. Research shows that just patting a pet can ease stress and reduce your blood pressure. Even watching fish swimming in an aquarium reduces stress as you relax and practice mindfulness. Pets provide companionship Pets can be affectionate, accepting, loyal, honest, and consistent. If you feel isolated with little support, a pet can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Pets help fulfil the human need to touch Most people feel better when they have physical contact with others. Simply patting a pet can lower your heart rate. Pets require routine and organisation Most pets require a routine of feeding, cleaning and exercise. This can give you purpose and motivation which can help your self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health. Pets provide a sense of purpose A pet can provide you with a sense of purpose, which helps improve mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Pets increase your social interaction Pets create opportunities for social interaction as pet-friendly events, beaches or parks can help increase your social network. If you are uncomfortable with social interactions, your pet can be your own special ’support person’, as it is often easier to face difficult situations when not alone. Not to mention the social interaction with your animal, which at times can be just as, if not more, nourishing than interacting with humans. Pets improve your fitness (particularly dog owners) If you own a dog, they need regular walks, and this exercise is good for you too. Exercise, like walking, has many benefits for your mental health and wellbeing. You can also use the time walking your dog to improve your fitness and make the most of the outdoors to help you further develop mindfulness and relaxation. The simple joy a dog exudes while on their walk can be contagious and mindfully engage you in the moment. Below is the link to the HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Institute). The short videos are amusing: habri.org/the-pet-effect/ KAREN BROWN MSWA COUNSELLOR 34

“We adopted Toby from the RSPCA four years ago and we were so lucky to find him, he has honestly been a lifesaver to me. Toby is a Border Collie cross, he is very gentle and follows me everywhere. He always senses when I am feeling down or unwell and will come and lay or sit beside me. I am diabetic and he even senses when my blood sugar is getting low, he will come and nudge me to tell me something is wrong. I have no idea how he learnt to do that! If my husband is working I take Toby for a short walk, it makes me get out of the house and have some exercise even when I don’t feel like it. He is my friend, my companion and my comforter. JEAN GILBERT MSWA CLIENT I would encourage anyone who is thinking of getting a dog to go for it. Choose one who is suited to your personality and lifestyle and you will have a friend and a companion in life.” SUGGESTIONS, COMPLAINTS AND COMPLIMENTS We want to hear from you. Your feedback helps us to understand what is working well and where we can improve. You can raise a concern or acknowledge the supports an MSWA staff member has provided by: / Talking to the coordinator of your services / Telephoning the Complaints Liaison and Compliance Coordinator, Michelle John, on 6454 3146. / Emailing feedback@mswa.org.au / Writing to Quality and Compliance; Locked Bag 2, BENTLEY DC 6983. Please tell us: / What happened / When it happened / Who was involved / What you would like to see occur as a result of sharing your feedback All feedback is reviewed, and complaints investigated in a timely manner with the team responsible for the service. Our goal is to achieve a positive outcome for all people involved and improve the quality of the care and services provided. You will be included in the process and the outcomes shared with you. Please note, you have the right to have support from an advocate at any point in a complaint process. The Complaints Liaison and Compliance Coordinator can help you to access an advocacy service if you wish. 35

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