The health benefits of an emotional support animals are not hidden. More and more people have chosen to get them for their mental health concerns.
People experience reduced stress, depression, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and more just by being close to animals. Some have said these animals have helped improve their blood pressure and reduce their cholesterol level.
Although these benefits seem general, those with serious mental or emotional conditions need these animals because their conditions can affect their general normal life abilities and activities. When people’s day-to-day activities are altered, their quality of life reduces.
The severity of this issue is based on the fact that these persons would always need to be around these animals; this is why they are called Emotional Support Animals.
Although ESA handlers need to be with them always, some restrictions and preferences by third parties could be a problem with their constant presence.
These restrictions could be homeowners not wanting to have a pet live in their buildings, airlines not allowing pets/animals on flights, or you are getting extra charges for bringing them on board.
While all these are understood, an ESA letter helps to give you and your Emotional support animal protection from these restrictions. The letter specifies the need for the person possessing it to need an emotional support animal.
Why Do I Need An ESA Letter?
Just outright saying that your animal is an emotional support animal is not enough to prove your stance and neither does it give you the protection you seek.
The letter needs to contain the necessary information that will serve these purposes, and it needs to be from the right, credible, and professional source.
We touched on a few reasons you would want to get an ESA letter, but let’s look at it properly:
- If you’re traveling, getting a travel-orientated ESA letter will help you in dealing with issues of bringing animals in airplanes and into hotels. Airlines, hotels, and a few places ease their restrictions on animals when you present an ESA letter. You may need a letter that specifies the breed or type of your animal and the need to have the animal with you due to your mental and emotional health needs. This allows some airlines to reduce the costs of flying with an animal. It is advised to check with your airline to get their stance on emotional support animals; this is because of the recent changes in the Air Carrier Access Act that no airline is mandated to accommodate them.
- As a tenant, your rights to bring and have some things in the home may be limited. This could be as much as owning a pet. Some homeowners dislike pets and do not want their tenants to have them. While those who allow extra charges, some call pet deposits. ESA letters, since they serve as proof of your need for an emotional support animal, can make your landlord accept your owning of an animal. So you can have a pet in the house without paying pet fees.
Know Who Can Write An ESA Letter?
This question goes through the mind of a lot of persons applying for an ESA letter and is a result of the recent high possibility of getting scammed. ESA letters cannot just be prescribed by anyone because there is a need to get the letter from an authorized professional.
Only licensed mental health professionals can write an ESA letter, mainly because they are in a better position to know your mental health therapy treatment plan and what you need.
There are a handful of professionals who have been licensed to write ESA letters, and they include:
- Licensed Mental Health Professionals like your therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist.
- General Physician
Licensed Therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist
A therapist helps patients develop cognitive mechanisms that can help them manage mental health symptoms. These licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are in the best position to provide the needed documentation that you require to get an emotional support animal alongside the letter.
Getting just a therapist would not work; you need to hold a license because the validity of your ESA letter is dependent on it. Before you start that session for an ESA letter, ensure that the professional you choose is licensed to write you an ESA letter.
If you have a therapist, discuss the idea of having an emotional support animal and get their stance on it. This is because having an emotional support animal has to be a valid treatment option for your health concerns.
If the stress of getting a therapist or psychologist is a bit too much for you, your family doctor, if licensed, can write you an ESA letter.
The first step is to discuss if getting an emotional support animal is advisable since they are in the best position to know what works for your condition.
Getting your ESA letter from your physician may be your best choice if you’re not comfortable with disclosing your health details to strangers.
You should note that just because you think you need an emotional support animal doesn’t automatically qualify you for one. A detailed analysis of your psychological situation has to be carried out to determine if you qualify for one or not.
Things To Understand Before Meeting A Professional
Before your scheduled visit to the mental health professional, there are some things you should get familiar with to help you get the best of emotional support animals and have a successful meeting with the therapist.
The very first thing you should do is to be thoroughly educated on the laws that guide emotional support animals and their owners. You should not just desire to have an animal; get to know how therapy with emotional support animals works and if it is the best option for you.
Can you handle the responsibility that comes with caring for an animal? It is best to have these answers to prepare when you finally have that session with your therapist or family doctor.
Are you ready to share your medical records? No professional will issue an ESA letter to you without properly verifying your medical records and your medical health.
When applying for an ESA letter, ensure it is for the right reasons and be open to the professional about your struggles and needs.
An ESA Letter can only be written by a licensed mental health professional.
You can get it from your current provider, or you can choose My ESA Doctor to write an ESA letter for you.
Here is a list of mental health professionals who can write an ESA Letter:
- Local Physician