Owning A Pet Not Doesn’t Lead To Improvement In Well Being In Individuals With Mental Illnesses, Study   

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According to a study by University of York researchers, establishing a close connection with a pet and sharing a living space with them does not necessarily result in notable enhancements in mental well-being for individuals diagnosed with a severe mental illness.

Companion animals dot improve mental wellbeing of individuals

The study revealed that owning pets like birds, fish, dogs, or cats doesn’t have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing of individuals with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, this study contradicts the popular notion that having pets can universally enhance wellbeing and mental health of individuals. The researchers conducted this survey as a follow-up to a previous study conducted in 2021, which focused on exploring the relationship between animal ownership, mental health, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the survey of 170 UK individuals with serious mental health issues, researchers found that 81 individuals owned a pet. Over 95% of the participants said that their animal companions provided them with companionship, consistency, and a sense of love.

Cats and dogs were among the most owned pets. Although most subjects felt a strong bond with their pets, the survey didn’t show any notable improvements on feelings of loneliness or mental health when comparing individuals with serious mental illness with a pet to those without.

Owning pets linked to decrease in mental health

According to a 2021 survey, owning an animal was linked to a decrease in mental health among individuals with serious mental illness. This may have been attributed to pandemic restrictions and the difficulties of caring for their pets during lockdown. Dr. Emily Shoesmith from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences cautioned against the assumption that companion animals universally improve mental health in all situations.

Notably, researchers indicate that companion animals remain an important component of the social network for individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness. However, further investigation is required to comprehend the intricacies of this relationship. This includes determining whether the specific type of animal plays a role and identifying external factors that could contribute to increased stress levels.

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