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Pets and Mental Health: Social Media Toolkit

  • March 01, 2023
  • Healthy living for mental well-being, Patients and Families, Public awareness
Those who said their pets positively impact their mental health cited several key benefits:  help reduce stress and anxiety, 69%; provide unconditional love and support, 69%; offer companionship, 69%; provide a calming presence, 66%; and are true friends, 63%

In March, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is focusing on promoting celebrating the mental health impact of our cats, dogs and other furry (and not furry) friends with #Paws4MentalHealth. During the month we are encouraging everyone to take a break, get up, stretch, and share a pic of their pet and how they positively impact their mental health.

In addition, we are releasing the results of a new national poll about mental health and pets and as well as a textbook for mental health practitioners, “The Role of Companion Animals in the Treatment of Mental Disorders.”

Join us on Social Media

  1. Take a break — a “paws” in your day — to spend time with your pet(s) and post a picture of them with an explanation on how your dog/cat improves your mental health using the hashtag #Paws4MentalHealth on any social media platform you like. Encourage your followers to do the same and join in on this Paws 4 Mental Health challenge.
  2. Share the latest APA poll results on pets and mental health on social media with hashtag #Paws4MentalHealth.
  3. Visit @APApsychiatric Instagram to add your picture to our “Add Yours” collage and see your pet on APA’s Instagram story along with others
  4. Join the APA and AVMA Twitter Chat on Mar. 29 at 1 p.m. ET. The Chat with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will cover the impacts of pets on your mental health.
  5. Use our #Paws4MentalHealth filters in Facebook/Instagram and share your pet pics.
    • Instagram - Open the Instagram app and on the camera page tap the magnifying glass to browse effects (depending on your phone and version of the app you may have to swipe thru the circle icons at the bottom of until you see the magnifying effects), a screen will pop up with a search icon in the top left of the box and you can search “paws4mentalhealth.”  Instagram AR Filter
    • Facebook - Facebook AR filter
    • DIY – Download the filter below and use a design app like Canva to apply it to any pet photo and post yourself.
man holding a small dog with #paws4mentalhealth hashtag

Hashtag: #Paws4MentalHealth

Sample Posts

Sample post 1: Join me/us for the #Paws4MentalHealth challenge! Take a pause/paws in your day and snap a picture of you and your pet with story of how they positively impact your mental health.

Sample post 2: The @APApsychiatric released new data showing that 88% of pet parents feel their pets are a part of the family. So, take a #Paws4MentalHealth and snap a pic of your pet and say how they help you with your mental health.

Sample post 3: A new poll shows 86% of pet owners feel their pet improves their mental health. How does your pet impact your mental health? Share your pet picture and story by using #Paws4MentalHealth.

Please contact Luke Waldron, APA’s Senior Social Media Manager, ([email protected] or 202-683-8293) if you have questions.

Take a pause, post a picture with your furry friend, and explain how they improve your mental health.  Hashtag: #Paws4MentalHealth
88% of pet owners said they consider their pets a part of their family
86% of pet owners said their pets have a positive impact on their mental health
social media filter with #paws4mentalhealth

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