Dogs provide emotional support to people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and
PTSD. They offer unconditional love, comfort, and companionship. “Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise, and improve your all-around health.” (namica.org) Spending time with a dog can help improve one’s mood and reduce sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. This is due to the release of endorphins, a natural feel-good chemical in the brain when interacting with dogs. Dogs can help to reduce stress levels by providing a calming presence and a distraction from daily worries. They can also help to regulate heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Owning a dog can encourage individuals to get outside and exercise more often, which has been shown to improve mental health and well-being. In addition, people with mental illness may feel isolated or disconnected from others, but a dog can provide a sense of social connection and reduce feelings of loneliness. Caring for a dog can provide a sense of purpose and responsibility, which can be especially important for those who may feel a lack of drive due to their mental illness.
Furthermore, dogs can help to reduce anxiety levels by providing a sense of security and comfort. This is
particularly true for dogs trained to provide specific anxiety-reducing tasks, such as alerting to panic
attacks. New Life K9s is one particular place for dogs trained to help with PTSD.
In addition, interacting with a dog can help to improve self-esteem and self-confidence, which can be
particularly important for individuals struggling with depression or other mental health issues.
In conclusion, dogs can help someone with mental illness on so many levels. They provide unconditional
love and support, decrease isolation, help with exercising, and reduce anxiety. Take a look at
newlifek9s.org and see how they are providing hope through the dogs they train and then give to people
with PTSD and depression.
Grenley, February 2, 2018, How Dogs Can Help with Depression; www.nami.org