According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five American adults will face some form of mental illness over the course of the next 12 months. It’s a scary statistic increased by the fact that not even half of them (only 41%) receive medical care. Not to forget, many people know the power of pets, and stay engaged when they are less socialized.
With increasing rates of suicide and a sustained stigma surrounding mental health diagnoses, billions of dollars are lost each year. The U.S.’s mental health crisis is spurring doctors, patients, parents, and even legislators into renewed focus and action.
The results are exciting. The new and repurposed drugs, artificial learning (AI) technologies that can track, detect and predict disease; funding initiatives and a push for more integrated care approach in the healthcare field as a whole.
But these solutions are also often expensive. Perhaps that is the reason why we are seeing an escalation in the number of pet therapy programs. Capitalizing on the inherent human desire to love and be loved in return. Exposure to a properly trained animal can provide mentally ill people with emotional support. It can also provide assisted therapy they need each day without spending too much. It’s a potentially simple solution for mental health problems most of us may face at some point in our lives. Consider five ways Spot, Fluffy, Flicka or other animals that may be beneficial in treating mental health problems.
Power of Pets: How they help in treating mental illness
Pets Demonstrate Joy
Take a look at your household pet and you’ll notice that it doesn’t worry about the future or the past. It only exists in the present. It plays and accepts affection, forgetting slights and harsh words. Pets of all kinds are constant reminders for us to do the same. They remind us to enjoy the moment, an important objective for people who might otherwise forget.
Pets Demand Our Attention
Pets require care. Whether we’re pondering the meaning of life or just wondering about the difference between h1b vs h2b visas, they demand that we take the time to feed and shelter and play with them. They not only need our attention, but they also nourish deep-rooted human need to care for someone or something. Put plainly, pets give us a purpose, which serves as a powerful reminder of our intrinsic worth.
Power of Pets: Encourage Physical Activity
As part of their care, pets also require exercise. They need to be walked or entertained or taken outside for potty breaks. This keeps them healthy, as well as us.
Read More: How Pets Are Improving Their Owners’ Lives
Research shows that physical activity improves both our physical and our mental health by reducing stress, conditioning our brains and boosting beneficial chemicals in our bodies.
Foster Social Connection
Furthermore, owning a pet forces us to interact with other people. Even if it’s just for a few minutes as we walk a dog or visit shop, it encourages us to go out and communicate with others. Because isolation and loneliness are key contributors to mental decline. The more opportunities we have to speak with and socialize with others, the fewer chances are to experience mental disease.
Power of Pets Lowers Our Blood Pressure and Stress Levels
Finally, the power of pets is determined by the fact that they lower our blood pressure and help us manage our stress. Evidence proves that petting and/or being in the presence of a treasured pet can increase the release of “happy” hormones, reduce levels of cortisol and lower our heart rate, all important factors in treating mental illness and improving our physical health.
With all these benefits, it seems apparent that pet therapy, especially in conjunction with other medical care, can positively impact the lives and treatment of the mentally ill.