What do Mental Health and Pet Adoption Rates during the Pandemic Have in Common?

While mental health rates plummeted due to the ongoing pandemic, pet adoption rates skyrocketed.


Rehma Saeed, Journalist

To say the past year has been difficult would be an understatement. With a pandemic, high school, and IB requirements, it seems as though GLK-UAIS’s students can’t catch a break.

Over 50% of the teens said they struggled with anxiety, 43% dealt with depression, and 45% had felt more stress than usual.”

— Sam Dekin at Mission Behavioral Health

Just overnight, life as we knew it completely changed. While our students are busy figuring out how to adjust to life in a pandemic, they are also just as busy, if not busier with their academic responsibilities. Just as our students went into lockdown a year ago, IA requirements, EE meetings, and regular homework assignments were at an all-time high. Trying to find balance between school and mental health proved to be a great challenge to many.

Cleo Saeed celebrating Eid with Junior, Rehma Saeed.

Our students’ academic responsibilities weren’t the only things that changed this past year, their social lives took a complete hit as well. Students across the globe were accustomed to seeing their friends constantly, but with new quarantine requirements many students were left feeling isolated. Summers that were usually spent with loads of friends at the lake were instead spent in lonely bedrooms. Social isolation along with academic-related stress played huge roles in the decline in many teenagers’ mental health.

Interestingly enough, while many people’s mental health declined, pet adoption rates skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to the nonprofit, Shelter Animals Count, adoption rates have shot up over 60%. The adoption rate just this past September was 73%.

Many attribute this correlation to the fact that pets have proven to have a positive impact on one’s mental health. According to a survey conducted by HABRI and Mars Petcare, 80% of pet owners believed that their pets helped curve feelings of isolation. In addition to curving isolation, studies show that pets also provide a sense of order and routine. With the pandemic, many feel as though their lives lack structure, but owning a pet can reduce these feelings due to their structured nature. Animals love to eat, sleep, and play at certain times throughout the day. Having to attend to your pet’s routine could greatly increase feelings of structure and order in one’s life.

Piper Pawa celebrating Diwali with Junior, Sonali Pawa.

If you or a loved one has been having a difficult time due to the pandemic, I urge you to click here to learn more about local resources that can help you and your loved ones through this troubling time.

Lastly, if you or a loved one is interested in adding a new family member please click here to learn about the adoption process at the Macomb Humane Society.


Dekin, Sam. New Research Highlights Teen Mental Health During The Pandemic. 21 August 2020. 2 March 2021. <https://sbtreatment.com/blog/teen-mental-health-covid-19/>.

habri. Mental Health. n.d. 2 March 2021.

—. Social Isolation and Loneliness. n.d. 2 March 2021.

Humane Society of Macomb. Adoptions. n.d. 2 March 2021. <https://humanesocietyofmacomb.org/adoptions/>.

Michigan.gov. Mental Health Resources. 2020. 2 March 2021. <https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_99557—,00.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=staywell20>.

Schrotenboer, Brent. Dog days of the pandemic create a thriving economy for man’s best friend. 2 September 2020. 2 March 2021. <https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/02/dog-adoption-covid-19-creates-a-thriving-business-for-dogs/5680569002/>.