A Bunny for emotional and mental health support

Press Release

Oct 17, 2022

Press Release Barry University uses bunny to help students with emotional and mental health support A 3-year-old rabbit named Lola, one of America’s first emotional support bunnies on a college campus, is helping Barry students cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other issues facing college students.

(MIAMI, FL) — Can a fluffy bunny with light-brown fur and perky ears really help college students with emotional and mental health support?

The answer is a resounding yes for Barry University students! This semester, those dealing with depression, anxiety, stress and other challenges are finding comfort and support from a 6-pound Thrianta rabbit named Lola. 


There has been a surge of mental health issues among young people, including college students nationwide. Between 2013 and 2021, depression among college students increased 135% and anxiety increased by 110%, according to a Boston University study. 

Since being introduced to Barry’s main campus this Fall to supplement a therapy dog named Lulu, 3-year-old Lola has been a hit. Adopted from an animal rehabilitation facility, the bunny works four days a week at Barry’s Office of Accessibility Services. Her salary is paid in lettuce, carrots, blueberries, bananas, and treats that include edible flowers and dried fruit. So far, nearly 100 students have used her services to cope with emotional issues, stress or just to calm their mind before an exam. According to student feedback, a 20-to-30-minute session spent playing with or petting Lola has reduced their stress level on average from a 10 to a 2.


“It makes me really happy that Lola can reach out to so many students and make them feel better, said Lina Villegas, director of Barry University’s Office of Accessibility services. “There are so many challenges facing college students these days. It’s nice that they have another outlet to support them.”  

“As college students, we undergo a lot of stress,” said Barry University sophomore Nathaly Feliz, a biology major. “I can always relieve my stress by petting Lola. When I spend time with her, I feel calm and reassured.

Contact: Kenny Ma

Director of Communications  


(305) 775-8629

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