The project is now reducing depression, loneliness and the reliance on antipsychotic medication in 40 care homes across the UK.
Keeping chickens may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of solutions to mental health issues, but this is exactly what HenPower are using as a new form of therapy across 40 care homes in the UK.
Henpower was created by charity Equal Arts in 2011 and uses a combination of art therapy and hen-keeping to tackle feelings of social isolation, reduce depression and improve wellbeing for the elderly.
Equal Arts completed a 12-month study with the Northumbria University in 2012-13 and found that Henpower has helped the the health and wellbeing of older people by reducing depression, loneliness and the need for antipsychotic medication.
Lead researcher on the study Glenda Cook said. “Henpower is innovative because it is not just brief ‘petting’ of the hens, but also taking responsibility for them. There’s a huge range of roles with shared responsibilities, with diverse ways to interact with the project,”
87 year old Ossie Cresswell took part in the initiative and said “Next to blindness loneliness is the worst thing you can have, it is a big affliction. It can destroy a lot of people. I know because I have been through it. At 87, hens are the biggest thing in our lives.”
HenPower Volunteer Jackie Copeland said in an interview with the Guardian: “People get a lot out of stroking [the hens]. You feel your stress levels go down. I get ‘chicken love’ – I almost expect them to start purring,”
Image Copyright: HenPower Facebook Page