No one likes to suffer from a mental health problem, but millions and millions of people do, each and every day. It can become almost impossible to deal with or ignore, and while going on medication is not a bad idea (and you should visit a healthcare professional if you feel you could benefit from that), that alone might not be enough to get you the help you need to feel the way you want to feel.
If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health problem, there is a good chance you would benefit greatly from an emotional support animal (also known as an ESA). An emotional support animal is essentially an animal companion that a medical professional has deemed helpful for an individual who suffers from a mental illness.
Whether it provides you with companionship, eases your anxiety, makes you more social, or anything else, they can be a big help in keeping you balanced. Emotional support animals have proven helpful for thousands of people, and they likely can help you, too.
It used to be that if you wanted to get an ESA (or a letter to make your current pet an ESA), you had to make a doctor’s appointment and ask if an ESA was right for you. While this isn’t bad, a lot of people might feel the trip isn’t worth it, or simply don’t want to go through all that to get an ESA letter.
Nowadays, however, the questions of how to get an ESA letter is much simpler and easier to answer. You can speak to a medical professional on the phone right away and often can get your letter within a day or so, which is a much faster process and takes a lot less effort on your part. To help you understand more about ESAs and ESA letters, we will go over a few common questions and concerns.
What is an ESA Letter?
An ESA letter is necessary to have an animal (or your pet) officially recognized as an emotional support animal. Think of an ESA Letter as essentially a prescription for having an emotional support animal. Just as you need a prescription before getting your anxiety medication, you need an ESA letter before you can be given an ESA (or have your pet designated as one).
The letter will provide evidence that you do indeed suffer from a mental illness and that having an ESA will benefit you. To get such a letter, you will need to convince your doctor that you have a mental health problem and would benefit from having an ESA. But why would a person jump through those hoops to turn a pet they already have and spend time with into an ESA?
The difference between having a regular pet and an ESA is you can save money on things such as flying with your pet, or paying pet surcharges at your apartment. Normally, having your pet in certain places costs money, but if the pet is a qualified ESA, you won’t have to worry about that. So, if you feel you can qualify for an ESA letter, there are some benefits to applying for one. You might as well give it a try.
What You Need to Provide Your Doctor With To Get an ESA Letter?
Getting approved for an ESA letter is easier than you might have expected. All you really have to do is prove to a medical professional that you suffer from one of a wide range of mental illnesses, and that you believe an ESA will help. Thankfully, it isn’t a very difficult process, as it shouldn’t be.
So, as long as you can confirm your mental health diagnosis and make a solid case for why you should have an ESA, there is a good chance you will be approved, and fairly quickly at that. Thanks to the new and expedited way of applying, getting an ESA letter is simpler than ever. However, you still can make a doctor’s appointment if you would prefer that to talking over the phone.
Does My Animal Require Special Training?
This is a very common concern and the answer is no, not at all. These ESAs are doing their jobs without even knowing it. They primarily are there to help calm you down in stressful situations or be there for you when you need companionship or love. They do not need to learn anything new or have a different role, just simply comfort you in the same way a pet does for everyone.
This differentiates them from animals such as service dogs, as they have a specific goal or duty to do, and require special training to do it. Any animal that you love and feel comfortable around can be an ESA, which is good news, since you don’t need to get a new pet if you feel you would benefit from an ESA.
Also, there are no rules as to what type of animal can be an ESA. So, whether you have a dog, cat, or other animal, you can apply to have it become an ESA. However, there is no doubt that dogs are the most popular choice, and going with a dog as your ESA is likely going to give you the best chance of approval.
In conclusion, getting an ESA letter is as easy as going online (or in person) and applying for one. The process shouldn’t take long. Within a few days, you should have the letter and be able to officially call your new or old pet an ESA and enjoy the added benefits that come along with it.