Students encouraged to 'paws against stress' as part of Inverness College UHI health and wellbeing initiative

STUDENTS at Inverness College UHI are being encouraged to ‘Paws Against Stress’ as part of a health and wellbeing initiative.

Therapets from the Canine Concern Scotland Trust will visit students at Inverness College UHI on Wednesday 14th November to help them de-stress.

Dogs are known for their therapeutic qualities and it’s scientifically proven that stroking an animal slows down your heartbeat, reduces blood pressure and helps you relax.

Students have registered to spend up to 15-minutes each with dogs’ Bella, Barney, Buddy, Maggie and Missie as part of the initiative. Students who suffer from anxiety and other mental health issues have also had the opportunity to book a ‘quiet slot’ so they can enjoy the service without it causing extra stress.

It is the second year for the initiative, which proved so successful last year. It will be repeated in February and March to coincide with busy periods in the academic calendar.

Inverness College UHI wellbeing officer Claire Kilburn-Young said:  “The interest from students last year was just phenomenal, so we didn’t hesitate in inviting the Canine Concern Scotland Trust back. It didn’t just provide a fun break from study, it also helped our students relax, which is really important if they are feeling a bit stressed.

“We do a lot at Inverness College UHI to promote health and wellbeing to our students as part of our healthy and safe university campaign, but students do get stressed and that can be for a variety of reasons.  Most people struggle with finding a work/life balance but for students it’s finding that work/life/study balance. Add to that the stress of sitting exams and assessments as well as the financial climate – with many students relying on their student loans – it can be hard. You only have to look at the way people’s faces light up at the sight of a dog to know animal assisted therapy works.”

As well as providing practical information, support and advice to students about courses, funding and careers, the guidance and wellbeing team at Inverness College UHI also offers one-to-one personal support to students, taking a proactive approach to help ensure that their physical, mental, economical and social needs are met.

Canine Concern Scotland Trust established its Therapets Service in 1988. It now has more than 800 volunteers who, with their specially selected dogs, visit patients and residents in hospitals, hospices, residential care and nursing homes, special needs schools and other intuitions to provide Pet Therapy. Much of the success of the therapy is based on regular visits so that long-term patients develop a relationship and interact with the volunteer and their pet. No charge is made for this service.  More information is available at


For more information, please contact Helen Aird, Marketing and PR Officer, Inverness College UHI at or telephone 01463 273315/07584616252.