Emotional support animals (ESAs) are pets that provide companionship and comfort to people with psychiatric disabilities. In order to be classified as an ESA, the animal must be specially trained to provide emotional support. Emotional support animals can range from dogs, cats, rabbits, and even non-traditional animals such as pigs and goats.
People may benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal. Some people may be diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. In order to function effectively in their daily lives, they may benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal.
How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal
If you are suffering from a psychiatric disability, you may be able to qualify for an emotional support animal. These disabilities are characterized by a person’s inability to handle everyday tasks such as going to work, attending school, and even living independently. These conditions can include anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder.
But how do you know if you qualify for an emotional support animal? And how do you go about getting a qualification and evaluation? Well, the process is actually quite simple.
1. Book a Screen Test
The first step in the process is to book a screening test. This can be done by visiting a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) or by looking for such a qualification process online. It’s possible that you can simply go to your usual physician or general doctor’s office and ask to be evaluated for an emotional support animal.
If you don’t have a preferred professional to choose from, you can simply go online and search “mental health evaluations for emotional support animals” or “ESA doctor near me” and surf through the top choices. Some websites to try out include:
- ESA Doctors
2. Discuss Your Symptoms and Needs
The next step is to have this mental health professional (LMHP) complete a psychiatric evaluation. This will help determine if you qualify for an emotional support animal.
During the screening process, you will need to discuss your symptoms and needs with the professional. The professional will ask you questions regarding your daily activities and any current treatments that you are receiving. You will also be asked to provide examples of situations in which your symptoms are causing problems for you.
3. Talk About the Possibility of Getting an ESA
Once the professional has completed your evaluation, they will discuss the possibility of getting an emotional support animal. You will be asked to explain how your condition affects you and how you would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal.
4. Get an ESA Letter
The final step in the process is to receive an ESA letter. This letter will confirm that you are qualified for an emotional support animal. The letter will include your name, the name of the LMHP who performed your evaluation, and the LMHP’s license number and signature.
KyokoKyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!
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