Home » The Healing Power of Pets: How Dogs and Cats Provide Social Support for Youth in Mental Health Crisis

The Healing Power of Pets: How Dogs and Cats Provide Social Support for Youth in Mental Health Crisis

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The Healing Power of Pets: How Dogs and Cats Provide Social Support for Youth in Mental Health Crisis

Living with a dog or cat can have a positive impact on the emotional health of young people, according to the Affinity Foundation. This revelation comes as 60% of Spaniards between 15 and 29 years old claim to have experienced mental health problems in the last year. The bond with pets serves as a source of social support, especially for adolescents facing difficult situations.

The foundation shared the stories of Noa and María, two young individuals who found solace and support in their animals during times of struggle. Noa, who suffered from bullying and self-harm, credits her dogs Gaspar and Valder with helping her through troubled times. María, who also experienced bullying and an eating disorder, found comfort and companionship in her dogs, stating that they were like medication for her.

Scientific evidence supports the positive effects of interacting with dogs and cats on emotional health. Contact with pets can provide unconditional support and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness in adolescents. This contact also promotes interaction with others and enriches their social network.

While living with pets can be beneficial for emotional health, it is important to recognize that each individual’s experience may vary. Pets can serve as a secure attachment figure for adolescents, enhancing their self-esteem and desire to connect with others. However, it is not a sole solution for mental health issues.

Through highlighting the stories of Noa and María, the Affinity Foundation aims to raise awareness about the benefits of animal companionship for adolescents. The bond between humans and animals can provide much-needed support and comfort in challenging times, ultimately improving emotional well-being.

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