Pets can be life-changing for people living with severe mental illness

Press/Media: Research


Article in the Huffington about EQUIP Research:


Living with mental illness can be lonely. More than half of people with serious psychiatric conditions say they feel isolated, struggling with an impaired ability to make friends, a lack of opportunities to socialize, and a stigma against mental illness.

Through the ups and downs of life with a mental health condition, pets offer a powerful form of connection and support. Many people living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder say that owning pets, more than anything else, has helped them to manage their condition, according to new research

The study participants spoke in emotional terms about their relationships with dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and other animal companions. 

“When I’m feeling really low they are wonderful because they won’t leave my side for two days,” one participant, an owner of two dogs and two cats, said of his pets. “I will get up and I will let them out to the toilet and I will feed them, but I am straight back in bed ... and then they’ll just come straight back up and just stay with me until I’m ready to come out of it.”

Period13 Dec 2016

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