BBC News

Newcastle University dog helps students' wellbeing

Newcastle University has taken on a new recruit to help students with their mental health - Bessie the dog.

Students can take the Jack Russell on a one-hour walk around the local parks, providing a break away from the pressure and stress of campus.

Bessie's owner Sally Ingram, director of student health and wellbeing, said research showed time spent with animals can "alleviate worry, provide comfort and help people deal with feelings of isolation and loneliness".

The university, which has announced the scheme on World Mental Health Day, also encourages the walks to be in pairs or groups to improve social interaction.