Getting an Emotional Support Animal

Mental illness is sometimes underestimated across the United States in terms of both severity and frequency. Anyone can see a broken arm in a cast, but a mental problem may often be invisible, especially if the victim intentionally hides it or if the condition is widely misunderstood. Someone suffering from phobias, anxiety, depression, or other problems still has plenty of options, however. In recent years, mental illnesses have been gaining more recognition, and this includes not only therapists and counselors, but also non-human support. an emotional support animal, sometimes called an ESA, can provide companionship and stress relief for a patient, once they complete their paperwork. An ESA application and ESA pet training may be needed, especially if a landlord or other area normally does not permit pets such as dogs or cats. The question may be: how to qualify for an emotional support animal? The benefits of certification for this animal may be great, and online qualification may be possible. Someone suffering a mental illness may ask their therapist about how to qualify for an emotional support animal, or even search “how to qualify for an emotional support animal” online to get more details. Meanwhile, there are some basics to consider.

Why a Pet

How to qualify for an emotional support animal? A clinically diagnosed mental illness or disorder is usually the first step, and a number of mental issues may call for ESA companionship. Serious phobias, depression, PTSD, an intellectual disorder, anxiety and more are just a few of the reasons why a person may want an ESA by their side. This involves more than simply visiting the pet shop, though; a patient may want to consult his or her counselor or therapist first. These pets can be a great comfort to a patient who owns one, since the beauty of the animal, the companionship, and the animal’s non-judgmental nature may be soothing for a patient and give them an emotional anchor. Such pets are typically cats and dogs, which are the most common pets in the United States. Birds might also make for fine ESAs if a person loves such pets, and buy a cage and food for them.

How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

A person, after they have a diagnosed mental disorder or illness, may consult his or her therapist or counselor about their interest in an ESA. A person may often decide for themselves that they have need for an ESA, and their counselor can help them finish the paperwork needed to get one. Any mental health professional such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or other doctor may write a prescription letter for an ESA. With this paperwork done, a patient may visit a pet shop or animal shelter and choose an animal who brings them a sense of comfort and calm, and this may be a matter of personal choice. Some patients may prefer a cat, or others might want a large dog or a colorful bird.

A mental health professional will also conduct an assessment and write a letter outlining the patient’s need for an ESA, and this paper should be signed and dated. Not to mention listing where the doctor first got their license. This letter will be valid for one year, and should be updated and refreshed as needed. Landlords, airlines, and others will need to see an up to date and valid letter so that a patient may bring their ESA with them where such animals are normally not allowed. So long as an ESA does not create a serious hassle for messes, damage, or noise where they are located, landlords and airline crews should allow an ESA to accompany the person with the official letter. Dogs are known for barking and digging in yards, and cats may scratch furniture or drapes, so an ESA owner is advised to train their pet to avoid these behaviors. Hiring a dog trainer may be an option if needed. A well-behaved ESA may even be allowed to ride in an airplane cabin with their owner at no additional cost. If the pet is not noisy or aggressive, then there should be no issue, and the letter owner can enjoy their pet’s company anywhere.