Can dogs help with mental health problems?
Anyone with pets can tell you that everything seems a little better after a cuddle session with your dog or your cat.
But can dogs help combat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety? An episode in Stand for Truth attempts to find out.
In Assumption Antipolo, a therapy dog named Ramen has just been introduced to the student community.
Ramen is part of Communitails, a group advocating the healing benefits of having a loving bond between humans and pets.
Ramen's handler Niner Guiao said that a parent once called her with positive reviews for Ramen.
"Meron one time may parent na tumawag sakin, very randomly. 'Alam mo yung daughter ko she has anxiety, medyo may pagka-withrdawn siya. But when she got home today the first thing she said was, Mom you know I met a dog named Ramen'," Guiao said.
Assumption Antipolo is one of the first schools in the Philippines to integrate Animal Assisted Intervention with their guidance counseling programs.
"I found out about Communitails, I saw that on Facebook, it really got me so excited. We want AA to continue to be a happy place for everyone, not just for our children, for our teachers, for the sisters, for everyone in the community," said Director Marie Grace Magtaas.
"Hindi lang siya dapat naaassociate with hard work, with stress, with pressure. Sana they also see the school as a place where they can harness joy," she added.
The students were similarly thrilled.
"I think it's good that the school is doing something and bringing therapeutic dogs to help the students to be stress-free," said grade 10 student Roxy.
Other countries such as the United States have adapted Animal Assisted Intervention to help rehabilitate people.
There are already existing studies that prove that pets do lighten their owners' moods.
Communitails intern Aisha Rallonza said that having suffered through mental health problems before, she can say that animals make reaching out less intimidating.
"As somebody who has also experienced mental health issues, I really think that the addition of an animal makes the concept of reaching out for help a lot less intimidating," she said.
"Because when you think about reaching out for mental health, you think about doctors, you think about medication, you think about psychiatrists, but when you add in something more friendly like a dog, it makes it a lot more approachable," she added. — Jessica Bartolome/LA, GMA News