How interaction with animals can benefit mental health: A phenomenological study
Social Work in Mental Health
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
There is an emerging body of evidence showing that interaction with animals can benefit mental health. To better understand how to use animal assisted interventions, it is essential to have a more in-depth understanding of how and in what ways these interactions benefit mental health. This article reports on findings of a transcendental phenomenological methodology using in-depth interviews with three participants to explore the phenomenon of animal interaction and mental well-being. All participants had regular interactions with animal programs and were previously diagnosed with depression. The study identified direct and indirect benefits of interaction with animals to mental health and outlines a conceptual framework for further research and for considering practice interventions. This research contributes to the literature on the role of animals in fostering mental well-being.