Pets And Mental Illness

Pets as Family

Pets are a part of 65 % of American Households.  People develop deep bonds with their pets. They are beloved members of the family.

This bond can be magnified when the owner has a disability such as Mental Illness.

Mental illness can cause isolation and high-stress levels wich can be mitigated, somewhat, by the love of a pet. Science has shown stress relieving chemical are released by stroking a pet. Having the love of a companion animal can help with loneliness.

A recent study has shown that for 60% of participants, (diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) animals were the first tier of emotional support in their lives.

Pets with Jobs

Some pets have moved beyond the passive role of just living in our homes. People with disabilities are finding help through animals. These animals are now being trained to perform jobs for disabled people. Including people with disabling  Mental Illness.

Support animals can help people in several ways.

Emotional support animals use affection as a means to provide comfort and support.

Therapy Animals visit institutions to provide affection and comfort to the residents.

Service Animals are trained for an individual to help with tasks related to that person’s disability.


How to Help

There are many benefits to pet ownership for a person with mental illness. These relationships should be encouraged. The bond a person feels with their pets or service animals should be respected and acknowledged. Supporters of people with mental illness should work to help reduce financial barriers to people caring for their pets.


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One thought on “Pets And Mental Illness

  1. Carol moore says:

    Silent heroes that save many on their darkest days.thanks for talking about pets and the benefits to everyone but especially those suffering with mental illness!

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