If you have a mental condition, having an emotional support animal in your life can help manage the condition more effectively. We will discuss how you can get an emotional support animal and get you updated with ESA laws and regulations. Let’s take a look.
Steps to Get an Emotional Support Animal
- Determine if you have a condition that qualifies for an ESA
- Reach out to a mental health professional and get yourself an ESA letter
- If you don’t have a pet, choose the type of animal you want as your ESA
- Learn the benefits that come with an ESA letter.
It is no secret that having an emotional support animal can lift your spirit. Even an animal meme or video can be very satisfying. Imagine having one in your life. You come back home after a hard day at work, and there is your pet at the door eagerly waiting to cuddle up with you. And that is where an animal can become a medication to your mental health. It can help alleviate your stress, and shower love like no other human being is capable of.
Conditions That Qualify For an Emotional Support Animal
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V), several conditions can benefit from an emotional support animal. These include:
- Learning Disabilities
- Motor Skills Disorder
- Intellectual Disorder
So, if you have a condition that is listed in the DSM V, you can get yourself an emotional support animal. You will be protected under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Getting an Emotional Support Animal
Living with an emotional support animal is an experience you must have, especially if you have a mental condition. Reach out to a mental health professional and get yourself an emotional support animal letter. It will help you live and fly with your pet hassle-free.
You can make any animal your ESA if you believe that it helps manage your condition. Dogs and cats are the most common emotional support animals in the country. Although, if you don’t have a pet, you can get yourself one with whom you feel you can connect the most.
What is an Emotional Support Animal Letter?
The emotional support animal concept has become quite popular and rightly so. It has been medically proven that having a pet in life can help improve a person’s mental condition. To make your pet an emotional support animal, you must have an ESA letter.
An emotional support animal letter is a recommendation from a mental health professional stating that you require an ESA to help manage your condition. If you believe that your pet helps in improving your mental condition, you can reach out to a therapist, doctor, or a mental health specialist. The doctor or therapist should be a licensed medical health professional. If you are unable to get to a doctor in person, there are reputable online resources that may prove useful.
Certain details should be mentioned in your ESA letter. These are as follows:
- The recommendation should be written on the medical health professional’s letterhead.
- The recipient of the letter should be a current patient of the health professional.
- The person should have a disability mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders Version IV or V.
- The person is limited in performing at least one of life’s major activities because of the disability.
- The patient is recommended an ESA, which is an essential part of his current treatment.
- The letter should be dated. It is valid for only 12 months.
The format of an ESA letter is as follows:
ESA: Type (Breed)
Dear (To whom it may concern)
Name is currently a patient of ours. I am familiar with his/her history and with the functional limitations imposed by his mental related illness. This person meets the definition of mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5, and under the Americans with Disability Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504), as well as the Air Carrier Access Act (49 U.S.C 41705 and 14 C.F.R. 382). Due to this mental disability, this individual has certain limitations related to social interaction and coping with stress.
To help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance the person’s ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the rented accommodation you own, I have recommended Patient Name to obtain their companion emotional support animal. The presence of an emotional support animal is necessary to mitigate the symptoms the patient is currently experiencing. In the setting of airline travel, please allow them to be accompanied by an emotional support animal in the aircraft cabin.
Name of the Professional
Signature of the Professional
State Medical License Number
How to Get an ESA Letter?
Getting an emotional support animal letter may seem like a tedious task, but in reality, it is not. There are a couple of ways you can get an ESA letter. Either you can choose to go to a physical clinic or get it online through telemedicine.
Steps to get an emotional support animal letter
- Fill a simple prequalification form and register on the website.
- Get evaluated by the doctor on a video call. He will assess if your condition qualifies for an ESA letter.
- If he approves, you will receive the emotional support animal letter via email within minutes.
Going to a physical clinic to get the letter may involve a little hassle. You may have to wait in a queue, or the clinic might be on the other side of the city. While telemedicine could be an effective way to get an ESA letter. It is online, so you won’t have to travel or even step outside your house. There are no queues, and you can get the letter within minutes. It involves having a video call with the doctor, so choose the one that you fancy more.
What are the benefits of an Emotional Support Animal Letter?
An emotional support animal letter comes with a couple of privileges. With an ESA letter, you can fly and live with your pet without paying any extra charges. The FHA and ACAA protect you against any discrimination based on your disability.
Fair Housing Act (FHA): This act allows you to live with your pet in a no pet policy apartment without paying any extra charges. Even if the landlord does not allow a pet in the apartment, he cannot deny you an emotional support animal letter. On the other hand, he will have to make the necessary accommodations for you and your ESA.
Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA): This act allows you to fly in-cabin with your emotional support animal without paying any additional pet fees. Though you will have to inform your flight at least 48 hours before the time of boarding so that they can make the necessary adjustments for you and your ESA.
Adopt an Emotional Support Animal
You can choose any animal as your ESA. But most people prefer to have a dog and a cat as their emotional support animals. Also, having these animals can help you take full advantage of the benefits that come with an ESA letter. So, you can visit a local animal shelter and get yourself an ESA of your choice. Finding a strong connection with your emotional support animal is very crucial to manage your condition.
Although your ESA can be of any species, it should bring a sense of relief from stress and anxiety. Also, you must check the local regulations if you are planning to get yourself an exotic animal. Also, most airlines prefer dogs and cats. If you have any other animal, they might place restrictions on your travel.
Training an Emotional Support Animal
Emotional support animals differ from service animals on one significant aspect, and that is training. Service animals require to be trained while emotional support animals need no training. Their job is to provide emotional support, and for that, they need not be educated or trained. They are born with the ability to love and care without asking for anything in return.
But it is beneficial that you provide your emotional support animal a basic training to ensure that it remains at its best behavior when in public. And this not only improves your ESA but your bond with it. Especially if you have a dog, you can train it to perform several tasks.
Can You Get Multiple Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, a person can have more than one emotional support animal. There is no rule limiting the number of emotional support animals per person. If your mental health professional feels that you need more than one ESA, then he will approve multiple emotional support animals for you.
But when it comes to flying with your ESAs, then you might not be able to travel with all your them. Also, the other thing you get worried about is taking care of them. The type of animal also factors into this. For example, you will not be able to keep two or more horses in an apartment. So make your choice accordingly.
An emotional support animal in your life means no end to your happiness. And this is true. Not just your condition, but it makes you a better person. The way they love and care for us, no other human can replicate that. Experience living with an emotional support animal, and then you will understand what it brings to your life.
What to do if I want to keep a more emotional support animal and the doctor does not give me another ESA letter?
Mostly it is regular physicians who reject applications for emotional support animal letter. You should consider approaching licensed mental health specialists who understand the need for emotional support animals and their medical benefits for people with mental health conditions.