The Short Answer: While dermatologists are unquestionably highly skilled licensed medical professionals, they are generally not an option to issue an ESA letter. Your best bet for an ESA letter is a mental health professional with ESA experience.
What gives dermatologists the ability to write ESA letters?
A dermatologist is a licensed doctor specializing in the health and diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. They handle a wide range of conditions, from acne to skin cancer, but their focus is primarily on physical rather than mental health.
Under Fair Housing guidelines, an ESA letter has to come from a licensed healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse, social worker, or psychologist. A dermatologist qualifies as a licensed professional, but we’ll discuss the reasons why they don’t write ESA letters in the next section.
Why can’t a dermatologist write an ESA letter?
There is an acknowledged intersection between dermatology and mental health; conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and severe acne can cause significant psychological distress, leading to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Dermatologists are often the first to spot these issues due to their close contact with patients.
However, dermatologists generally are not responsible for the mental health of their patients or for conducting mental health evaluations. Furthermore, dermatologists usually aren’t familiar with the complexities of ESA rules.
For an ESA letter to be valid, it must come from a provider who has evaluated the patient for a mental health condition. That is why most ESA letters come from mental health professionals such as therapists.
Where should you turn instead?
An ESA letter must be provided by a licensed mental health professional. Dermatologists are specialists in treating skin conditions and typically do not fall into the category of LMHPs authorized to write ESA letters.
For a seamless experience and to ascertain your eligibility, consulting an online LMHP is a great option. Online providers are fully authorized to assess individuals for emotional support animals.
ESA Doctors offer a platform that connects you with LMHPs specializing in ESA letters. If their professional assessment determines that you qualify, they’ll provide you with a signed ESA letter that adheres to the most recent ESA regulations. This approach ensures that you receive a valid ESA letter from an appropriate professional.