Do You Need An Emotional Support Animal?

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Do You Need An Emotional Support Animal? February 24th, 2017

Do You Need An Emotional Support  Animal?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that has been prescribed by a certified psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist for a person dealing with emotional issues. The animal becomes part of a treatment program for the individual in question and is there to bring company and comfort while minimizing the negative effects of the person’s psychological/emotional disability. Animals that qualify as an ESA include all domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, mice, hedgehogs, snakes, ferrets, and mini pigs.

If you are experiencing an emotional disability, you can easily qualify for an Emotional Support Animal. For that, you will need to be certified as emotionally unstable by a therapist, psychologist, or physiatrist, or any other certified and/or duly licensed mental health expert. The certification will need to be in the form of an appropriately formatted letter and formal.

Any other type of doctor, for instance a cardiologist, does not quality as a mental health expert since he does not have specialization in mental health, unlike other medical doctors. However, some property managers, airlines and apartments accept verification forms forwarded by a family doctor. Make sure you find the right authority who can write the ESA letter for you.

The ESA letter must be written on the mental health expert’s letterhead, and should include his date of license, license type, license number, and the state of issue. Additionally, it should have the date of when the letter was scripted.

Components of an ESA Letter

Your letter should be a representation of the following details, which will inform the receiver that you are:

  • A present patient of the signing mental health expert
  • Under the professional care and treatment of the doctor, your disability has been described in the Diagnostic & Statistical  Manual of mental issues Version IV or V
  • Prescribed by the health professional as part of your ongoing treatment
  • The letter must not be dated less than 12 months from your departure date.

In absence or unwillingness of your therapist to write an ESA letter, you can use other certified mental health service agencies to write on the behalf of your disability. Just make sure the agency is licensed by the US Justice Department or other departments of authority so that your request is considered valid and binding.

What Mental Disorders Can Qualify You For An ESA Letter?

To further assist you in the process of qualification for your ESA letter, you may want to go through the list of disorders.

  • Tic disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Sexual disorder
  • Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Learning Disorders
  • Substance related disorder, which includes drugs and/or alcohol, among other things
  • Gender identity
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Motor Skills Disorders

How An ESA Letter Will Help You

family, pet, domestic animal and people concept - close up of faAlthough having your cat, dog, or hamster on a flight with you might seem like a great idea, it is not always permitted without a document authorizing it, in this case, an ESA letter. Already there is some controversy regarding allowing dogs in places where they might not be traditionally allowed entry, for example public places. For instance, with an ESA letter, you can convince a restaurant owner to permit your dog into a dining place despite the fact that ESAs are strictly forbidden in such areas.

Additionally, people with allergies can make a big fuss about ESAs on planes, and an ESA letter can give you some kind of authority in the matter.

So, if your therapist recommends that you get an ESA, you definitely need one. Following the steps mentioned here can simplify the process of getting an animal for you.