At the Wyandot Center in Kansas, psychiatrist Dr. Christie Mensch offers a full range of mental health services for adult patients. As part of her commitment to her patients, Dr. Christie Mensch maintains a professional interest in pet therapy and similar approaches to mental health management.
Pet therapy is still an emerging science, but researchers are uncovering more and more ways that animals can help people who live with depression. Consider the following ways that a friendly companion animal can offer therapeutic support.
1. Pets provide an incentive for patients to remain active, even when they do not want to. Companion animals need exercise and recreation, which gives their human friends a reason to get up and move. Countless studies have verified the benefits of active lifestyles for people who have depression.
2. Pets offer companionship and unconditional love. They are friends and confidants, which can help people feel less alone. People who experience depression often become isolated, which can feel very lonely. Pets make people feel less alone.
3. Pets offer a physical connection. Current research suggests that people can benefit emotionally when they physically touch others. These benefits extend to furry friends, and additional studies confirm that petting animals can have positive impacts on blood pressure as well.