All of us experience depressing times. There are moments when we feel stressed out and hopeless. Difficult days at work or in daily life can sometimes put us at the brink of giving up. For people with pets, we know how comforting it is to come home after an exhausting day, and get the sight of our dear furry friends. What more for people who have their own monsters to deal with everyday? This study suggests that pets, in most cases, can be more helpful to people with mental illness than family or friends.
A new study
published in BMC Psychiatry, involved 54 participants with long-term mental illness. 60 percent of them included pets as their closest social network where they get emotional support and encouragement.
"When I'm feeling really low they are wonderful because they won't leave my side for two days," one participant with two dogs and two cats, said in a study, "They just stay with me until I am ready to come out of it."
Dr. Janette Young from the University of South Australia said people with mental illness have fewer positive relationships and more negative ones in their social network. Relationship with pets are less complicated and more rewarding. These animals also give these people a reason to stay in contact with the world.
"When you just want to sink into a pit and just sort of retreat from the entire world, they force me, the cats force me to sort of still be involved with the world," one participant said.
Though some people question the importance of this study, researchers say that the results are actually a valuable milestone for psychiatric health. How pets help people with mental illness get through with life, give them hope, and initiate a determination to get better could actually be the top key to human wellness.
"Understanding how this human-to-non-human stuff works, it's like this little gold mine that we're not recognising in terms of our welfare and our wellbeing," Dr. Young added in an interview