Thursday (October 10) is World Mental Health Day, a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017).
On Tuesday, October 8 and Thursday, October 10, Brightline, in partnership with Fort Lauderdale-based Canine Assisted Therapy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those in need through pet therapy, will welcome tail-wagging friends to all three of its stations during rush hour (4:00pm-6:00pm ET), bringing a little extra comfort and company to riders as they make their way home following a long workday.
A minimum of three therapy teams of all sizes and breeds will walk the waiting areas at all three stations (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach), where riders can approach them for cuddles or pets, if desired. Studies have shown that touch and movement, such as interacting with or petting a dog can help individuals cope with depression, anxiety, and stress, in part by elevating levels of serotonin and dopamine.
“We know the stigma attached to mental health is real, with many suffering in silence as a result,” said Ben Porritt, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Brightline. “We are proud to add our voice to a global conversation and drive greater awareness around mental health in support of those in need, whether it be our colleagues, neighbors, friends, or family.”
Brightline’s four-legged mental health ambassadors form part of the company’s ongoing commitment to address safety in the communities where it operates, including ongoing community outreach promoting safety in schools, homeless shelters and at events.