Mental Health Awareness Week takes place between 18 and 24 May and is a time to acknowledge the significant challenges faced by many up and down the country who struggle with their mental health. While there is a myriad of treatments for these problems, one that is becoming more widely acknowledged is how pets can contribute to their owner’s health and well-being.
Mental health is a hugely important issue, with as many as 1 in 4 people in the UK struggling with a mental health problem each year. Studies have shown how beneficial pets can be for a whole range of mental health issues. Not only do these animals bring great joy and fun into people’s homes, but they can also help us become healthier and happier and even live longer too.
Adam Masters from Petributes said: ‘Mental Health Awareness Week is the ideal time to celebrate all the incredible benefits our pets bring to our lives. Pets are incredible companions, bring untold comfort and are always there for us, regardless of whether we are having a good or bad day.’
Keeping animals, such as dogs and horses, motivate people to exercise more. Walking a dog or going horse riding is a fantastic way to get out into nature, breathe in the fresh air, and get our hearts and lungs pumping. Keeping fit and physically healthy can alleviate pain and lower the risk of many diseases. Still, it can also help reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and help to stay positive too.
For many people, household pets are considered loyal and beautiful friends. According to The Independent, over nine million people in the UK feel lonely and worry that no one would notice if something terrible were to happen to them. For practical reasons, pets can be useful, particularly therapy dogs who can be trained to alert others should a person have a fall or become ill.
Additionally, another warm body in the house and a living creature to take care of can be an enormous help to people who feel isolated and in need of a friend. Many people battling mental illness find it challenging to communicate their feelings as worry they may be judged or misunderstood by others. Again a loving pet can be a massive comfort as they won’t judge you whether you are having a good or bad day and only want to be loved and well cared for in return.
Adam continued: ‘Pets are an endless source of love and friendship.They provide affection and companionship with no underlying agenda or ulterior motive. This makes them excellent companions for those who find it difficult to relate to others.’
Studies have proven the calming effect that having a pet can have and that stroking an animal such as a cat or dog can be particularly soothing. One study found that stroking a pet for 10 minutes can help to lower stress levels. Therapy dogs are also used for a considerable number of illnesses, both mental and physical. They significantly reduce stress and frustration in dementia patients and help children with autism too.
Owning and caring for a pet can help build a routine, keep people feeling organised, productive, and purposeful and teach us to care about something other than ourselves. Taking pride in looking after an animal can help boost self-worth, confidence, and self-esteem.
Pets are genuinely magnificent companions that can help improve the day to day lives of many people who struggle with mental health issues, and Mental Health Awareness Week is a fantastic opportunity to express gratitude for all that they do.
When the time comes to say goodbye to your pet, the team at Petributes is here to help ensure you give them the send-off they deserve. Their beautiful, quality pet urns and memorial products are the perfect way to pay tribute and ensure those special memories can stay alive forever.
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