(CBS DETROIT)– The animals at an Oakland County farm playing a critical role when it comes to those suffering from Mental Illness.

“Good boys, you guys wanna go out now,” said James Howes, a farm team support member, as he prepares the animals to start their day.

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Every morning Howes arrives bright and early to the farm located on the Rose Hill Mental Health Facility grounds. At first glance it appears Howes is a care taker for the animals, and that he is, but his job entails much more.

“My job here is to council and support the residents and their journey, they have some kind of mental affliction, bi-polar, schizophrenia, autism, borderline personalities and they come here in a rest and repair phase.”

The Rose Hill Center in Holly was founded nearly 30 years ago by Dan and Rosemary Kelly, after their son John was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The over 350-acre property has a host of animals that Howes says, not only provide therapy when residents are caring for them, but also gives them a sense of calm, peace, and stabilization, something critical for their healing process.

Photo credit, the Kelly family.

Pictured, Rose, Dan and John Kelly.

“Once the work is done you come out here and just look, just feel the breeze and see all the space all the wildlife it just amazing,” said Howes.

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Howes says the animal therapy program which is the only one of its kind in Michigan, has made a difference in the lives of countless residents, as well as his own.

“He pulled me in for a hug and said you know you changed my life, and that’s why I come to work, that’s why I do it,” Howes said.

For more information about the Rose Hill Center, please visit.

https://rosehillcenter.org

Now through June 18th, Rose Hill Center is participating in Crain’s Detroit May Days of Giving. If you would like to make a gift to support Rose Hill’s farm program to care for the animals and update their facilities
please go to: https://maydaysofgiving.crainsdetroit.com/story/Rose-Hill-Center2021.

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April Morton