Study Says Pets Help Manage Mental Health




ccording to HealthDay, a new study finds that people with mental health issues rank their pets as their number one support — above family, friends and hobbies. Cats, birds, dogs and other animals help individuals manage their mental health issues by calming them, providing them with distractions and helping them in moments of crisis.


“The people we spoke to through the course of this study said they felt their pet played a range of positive roles, such as helping them to manage the stigma associated with their mental health by providing acceptance without judgment,” said study lead author Helen Brooks, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester.


The study made the point that people’s pets were not considered a factor in any of their health plans and concluded that pets should be counted as a major source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, and that this should affect the planning and delivery of mental health services.


“Pets provided a unique form of validation through unconditional support, which [the patients] were often not receiving from other family or social relationships,” Dr. Brooks added.


Note: In WiRED’s 20th anniversary year, we will introduce two new features in addition to our regular reporting on
WiRED’s global health education activities: pet and animal health, and climate change as it relates to global health.



Protect Pets from Hazards during Holidays and Year Round


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that holidays present specific dangers to pets, but threats remain throughout the year. Pet owners need to be aware that animals can get sick or die from ordinary things found around the house or garage. Pets can suffer from eating too many treats, choking on bones, chewing on poisonous plants, ingesting ribbons that lodge in the intestines, licking antifreeze from cars and getting hold of unguarded alcohol or chocolate.




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