Tanya Wooley from the greyhound adoption group \
Tanya Wooley from the greyhound adoption group \"Life after the track\" with Pearl who is up for adoption. Tanya and Pearl were at the Rockhampton Library's inaugural Mental Health Expo. Chris Ison ROK101016cmental1

Patting the black dog goodbye

PEARL the greyhound was on hand at the Rockhampton Regional Library's inaugural Mental Health Expo to show just how beneficial pets can be.

Foster and adoption coordinator for Greyhounds new beginnings in Rockhampton Tanya Wooley was on hand to help visitors learn more about how pets can improve mental health.

Tanya said when it came to mental health pets were a great help especially when it came to companionship.

"Just patting a dog can lower your blood pressure, they have a calming effect essentially so we're promoting dogs for mental health.”

"But we're also promoting that greyhounds are great pets too because they're a very cuddly, calm dog and a lot of greyhounds get put into programs such as smart pups for autism and those sorts of roles, they act as therapy dogs.”

Tanya who is a dog owner herself said she could vouch for the role the furry creatures play in people's mental health.

"Personally they have helped me through difficult times,” she said.

"Just having them at home is helpful, even if they can't answer you they still know how you feel and just having the cuddles and the pats and someone with you is great.”

The expo which ran from 10am until 1pm today saw members from the community heard from a number of mental health experts, visit stall holders and joint in with the free activities.

Guest speakers included Rockhampton lived experience academic in mental health Dr Louise Byrne, author Wayne Ellis and psychologist and indigenous mental health leader Ed Mosby.

Rockhampton Regional Council Community Services Committee Chair Cr Rose Swadling was pleased the Council was able to provide a program of speakers and activities for the Region.

"An expo dedicated to teaching and sharing stories about mental health is vital in helping us acknowledge and bring an understanding to the community about living or caring for someone through these illnesses."

The expo kicked of mental health week with runs until October 15.

How a dogs wagging tail could help with depression

Responsibility: Psychiatrist Ian Cook says taking care of a pet can help give you a sense of your own value and importance.

Routine: Having a daily schedule helps people with depression. An animals natural routine can help you stay on track.

Companionship: Depression can isolate you. It can make you pull back from people. If you have a pet you are never alone.

Touch: Studies show that people feel better when they have physical contact with others. Pets offer something similar. Studies have shown that petting a dog can lower your heart rate too.

Better health: Research found that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain.

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