Health Heroes

Pets can help teens and their families mental health in many ways, from offering comfort to just improving mood

According to an article from HuffPost, How pets help with mental and emotional health, having a pet can not only help provide mental and emotional support but creates a sense of routines, but giving companionship and pets can even help teens with autism. Junior Grace Johnson, believes her own pets help her with emotional and mental health.

1.) Improves Mood and Emotional Management: Playing with pets promotes positive emotions and can even help lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression

“Pets offer company and can be fun to play with/have around,” Johnson said. 

2.) Creates Routine: Pets require regular meal times, walks/exercise, etc, routines help children and teens thrive

“Having pets helps everyone work together to take care of them,” Johnson said. 

3.) Offers comfort And companionship: Studies show pet owners feel more feelings of a sense of support rather than loneliness, sensations like touch, (feeling a pet) provides teens with essential coping skills

“My pet always makes me feel happier when she’s around and is a good company,” Johnson said. 

4.) Helps Kids With Autism: Research shows children with Autism after seeing a shelter cat experienced increased social skills and empathy, decreases in problem behaviors like bullying and hyperactivity

“Kids with autism are stimulated by many things around them, noises, lights, etc. So a pet may help them focus more on the pet rather than everything else going on, especially if they’re having a harder day than usual,” Johnson said.

Having pets like therapy dogs in schools may be very beneficial to student well-being and mental health. After a stressful test, some students may just want to be calmed down with a dog!