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Kansas City: Therapy dogs bring "calm" for students with "epidemic" of "anxiety/depression"

July 26, 2018, Kansas City Star: Reducing anxiety, raising grades: therapy dogs ‘bring a calm’ to KC-area schools … From there her mission took off. With permission from her middle school principal, Slaven joined the growing trend of Kansas City area school educators who are bringing therapy animals into schools. By June she raised $20,000 through the Olathe Public Schools Foundation to adopt and train a therapy dog. Now, she is spending the summer training her newly adopted mutt, Sampson, so he can be ready to begin work with students in the fall…. Sampson will serve three main roles as a therapy dog. He will work with students in Santa Fe Middle’s program for emotionally traumatized students, one of two such programs in the district. He will accompany Slaven on trips to other buildings as part of the crisis management team. And he will also just be a dog, a happy, non-judgmental presence for all students at Santa Fe Middle and Washington Elementary. … The Olathe school district has been increasing its focus on mental health because the numbers of students diagnosed with mental disorders is increasing, Slaven said. … Kids today have more stress than previous generations, Stump and Boucher agree…. “It seems to be epidemic, anxiety and depression,” Mahan said. “I’m not sure the answer to it but it just seems to be so prevalent and it’s kind of frightening to me as a counselor. I’ve seen more and more kids not be able to come into school so we have to get creative as educators.”…


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