SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days


Depression and anxiety disorders are a significant problem in adults and teenagers. These disorders continue to increase in prevalence year by year. One way to combat this is the use of emotional support animals (ESA’s), which have become increasingly popular. This study investigates the relationship between the use of emotional support animals and mental well-being of students with mental health disorders. This study is designed to illustrate the increase in sense of well-being in patients with mental health disorders who utilize ESA’s. This study applies both a qualitative and quantitative study design, the qualitative design of this study is phenomenological. This study utilizes meaningful questions in the form of a survey, as well as an Anxiety and Depression score sheet, sent out to 100 Fort Hays State University students with a mental disorder. This survey and score sheet are sent out in the first year, periodically throughout the study, and finally during the fifth year of the diagnosis. After the fifth year of diagnosis, the survey results are compared to the results reported by the patients during the previous years. The literature has demonstrated substantially beneficial results for those who are currently employing ESAs. Depression and anxiety ratings have significantly improved following the introduction and use of these animals. This study has profound implications for nursing and healthcare professions. The study proposes non-pharmacological approaches to enhancing mental health and delivering holistic care and may reduce mortality for people with mental health conditions while also improving communication between nurses and patients.

Faculty Advisor

Christine Hober



Submission Type

online only poster




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