Pets Make Life Better

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Virginia Beach SPCA has teamed up with NAMI Coastal Virginia to shine a light on the important role pets play in our mental and emotional health. Over 50 million people experience mental health challenges in the United States, and many people have turned to their furry friends as the pandemic brought forth feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. While pets are not a replacement for professional medical treatment, the companionship they provide can bring unique benefits to help improve the lives of those dealing with mental health challenges. 

Please join us in supporting Mental Health Awareness Month, and help shine a light on the importance of support, education, advocacy, and…pets. Here’s how you can help: 

  1. The VBSPCA and NAMI Coastal Virginia will be sharing educational information throughout the month on their social media pages. Please help us spread the word by sharing the posts! 
  2. Take an awareness walk with your pet! Walk a mile (or more) in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and share a post-walk photo of you and your pet on facebook or instagram! Be sure to include #MHAM and #PetsMakeLifeBetter in your post, and be sure to tag @vbspca. More details are below. 
  3. Share your personal story of how your pet has made your life better on social media, and include #MHAM and #PetsMakeLifeBetter in your post.
  4. Purchase a NAMI Llama stuffed animal at the VBSPCA, and all proceeds will go to support NAMI and the Animals
  5. Wear a green ribbon in honor of the campaign, and you can pick one up at the VBSPCA.

Mental Health Month Awareness Walk

Join the VBSPCA and NAMI as we shine a light on mental health and the importance of pets. Walk one mile (or more) anytime through the month of May, and then share a photo of you and your pet on social media. Be sure to include #MAHM and #PetsMakeLifeBetter and tag @vbspca in the post! Feel free to select from one of the statistics below to help increase awareness, or share your own story of how pets have impacted your life. 

  • One in five US adults experience mental health challenges. 
  • One in six U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • The most common mental health issues in the U.S. are anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults.
  • 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership, and 75% of pet owners reported a friend’s or family member’s mental health has improved because of the pets in their lives.
  • Positive human-animal interaction is related to the changes in physiological variables both in humans and animals, including a reduction of subjective psychological stress (fear, anxiety) and an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, visit www.namicoastalvirginia.org for more information on how you can get help