It has been well established that pets can have a profound effect on the health and well-being of humans. And that includes benefits for people who struggle with mental health issues.

A recent article authored by Carina Wolff for Bustle, an online digital magazine, describes how animals can be a powerful tool for mental illness, especially when combined with traditional therapy.

In her article, 11 Mental Health Issues You Never Knew Animals Could Help With, Wolff details how animals may provide potential therapeutic benefits to people with a number of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, panic, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder, among others.

A cautionary note: owning a pet is two-way relationship that requires a long term commitment to the pet’s daily needs. If you aren’t familiar with “life with a pet” you might want to start out by spending time with a friend who has a pet, perhaps offering to pet sit for a night or a weekend before you decide to share your life with your own pet.

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