Pets can help people manage mental health conditions, particularly in times of crisis, new research finds.
People’s emotional relationship with their animals can be intense and they can provide welcome support.
The review of 17 different studies found that people living with mental illness reported a variety of different benefits to having pets:
1. People reported finding pets calming and supportive.
2. People felt their pets could tell when they were in trouble.
3. Pets provided a distraction from upsetting symptoms of mental illness.
4. Pets helped people stay active by providing a stimulus.
5. Pets helped people maintain a positive identity.
6. Owners felt their pets accepted them without judgement.
I – Word Understanding
Stimulus – something that causes someone to become active
Judgement – opinion formed after careful consideration
II – Have your say:
1. Pets have been increasing in numbers throughout Japan, and in most cases being considered as part of the family. In 2009, there were 23.2 million pets as compared to 17 million children below 16.
2. Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder. Have you heard of animal therapy in your area? What animals do you think are effective for this?