Can having a pet parrot help with depression?

According to Our World in Data, 2-6% of people worldwide suffer from some form of depression and in the US that average is on the higher side near 5%. And with COVID, the symptoms of depression in many have worsened and many who were not depressed before have become so as people are more isolated than ever and or in fear of contracting or spreading the disease. As a result, the rate of depression has skyrocketed through COVID as “One in 3 adults in the predominantly general population have COVID-19 related psychological distress” which can lead to depression.  

happy person with parrot

It has been reported in many studies that having a pet can help manage symptoms of depression. In one survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners said having a pet improved their mental health. There are several reasons for this: 

  1. COMPANIONSHIP: A pet offers much-needed companionship especially for someone living alone. 
  2. RESPONSIBILITY: Being responsible for the health and well-being of another living thing can help provide purpose and fulfillment.
  3. LOVE: Feeling the unconditional love of a pet can be highly beneficial for anyone who suffers from depression. 
  4. ROUTINE: Being responsible for a pet often comes with a routine for feeding and caring which can provide some feelings of positivity and even joy as well as a reason to get up and active each day.

But will a pet bird really provide the right type of pet for someone who feels lonely or depressed? The short answer: Absolutely! 

smile happy bird

If you’ve never had a pet parrot, you’re in for a treat. Because anyone who has will tell you they are all so full of personality that is truly unique - not just to their species but to that specific bird. And birds love being with their people. They love to be held, and many even love a good snuggle and scritches on the back of the neck. (Yes, there is a special way you should pet your parrot!)

Plus, unlike many pets that don’t live beyond 10-15 years, there are many species of birds that can live beyond 20 years if taken care of properly.  

Convinced but don’t know where to start? It’s true, if you’ve never had a pet bird it can be daunting to think about what it might take to have one as a full time companion. 

happy bird happy life

But taking care of a pet parrot is easy to learn - especially with our help. To start, you need to understand the personality traits of different species of parrots to determine which might be the best fit for your lifestyle. And then you will need to consider the proper habitat or cage size. And finally, you’ll want to understand how to provide the best exercise, developmental toys and healthiest diet for your parrot. Once you have the basics, you will be excited to learn how to properly handle your bird and will build a loyal bond that could last for decades to come!

If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available. Please call  the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 800-273-8255.