The benefits of pets for people living with mental health conditions

A UK woman battling depression and anxiety disorder has opened up about the benefits of pet ownership for those living with various mental health conditions.

Cody Barrett, Epsom, has described Layla, her pet cat, as a “lifeline” in helping her to manage her symptoms.

The 21-year-old says that she sometimes experiences suicidal thoughts and a lack of control as a result of her mental health struggles, but that Layla has given her a reason to “get out of bed in the morning.”

She explains: “One of the things I [used to] struggle with quite a lot was having a sense of ‘what is the point of anything?’

“No one really talks to me, my parents don’t understand me; even if I finish my degree what am I going to do?

“Fulfilling the basic needs of a tiny kitten that can’t really do anything for herself made me leave the house,” she says.

“I had to go and get her food, I had to get her wormed, I had to get her fed…”

She adds: “It sounds really insignificant but I think one of the things you struggle most when you’re suffering with those kind of emotional problems – the motivation to do anything about it.”

Cody’s story has attracted the attention of Cats Protection, who have nominated Layla for the ‘Most Caring Cat’ award at the upcoming Cats Protection Cat of the Year Awards, which will be held in August.