Live learning for your clients: Pets and mental health

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Man with a dog outdoors

Social media event stems from AVMA partnership

AVMA President Dr. Rena Carlson will help spread the word about the mental health benefits of pet ownership during a live social media chat later this month.

Invite your clients to watch when Dr. Carlson and Gregory Scott Brown, MD, from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) answer commonly asked questions from pet owners. The event takes place on YouTube Live on March 27, beginning at 11 a.m. Central Time. We’ll also be sharing highlights from their conversation shortly afterward on Instagram. You can watch by following us on YouTube or Instagram

The event is part of a monthlong partnership between the AVMA and APA to raise awareness of how pet ownership improves people’s mental health. Using the hashtag #PawsForMentalHealth, both organizations are sharing information throughout the month about the benefits of the human-animal bond

How pets support their owners' mental health

The campaign kicked off with the release of a survey quantifying some of those mental health benefits. Among the findings:

  • 84% of owners said their pets have a mostly positive impact on their mental health.
  • 62% said their pets provide a calming presence.
  • 62% said their pets help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • 65% consider their pets true friends (65%).

The APA has created a social media toolkit to make it easy to spread the word about the  #PawsForMentalHealth campaign. The kit includes ready-to-use graphics, Facebook/Instagram filters, and sample social media posts. 

Pet owners can join the fun by sharing a photo of their favorite animal companion on social media with the hashtag #Paws4MentalHealth and a message about how having a pet helps improve their mental health.


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