The fact that more and more therapists and licensed mental health professionals are recommending Emotional Support Animals to their patients is a real testament to the therapeutic benefits they provide.
And unlike a certified Service Dog, an ESA can be of any species, so if you are a person that is allergic to the traditional animals (like dogs or cats), the world of the Emotional Support Animal is wide open to you.
Let’s explore this topic further and answer the question of how to get an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi.
Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal
Are you confused when it comes to knowing the difference between a Service Dog and an Emotional Support Animal? You’re not alone.
Simply put, a canine (or miniature horse) that has been specially trained to aid an individual with a disability, is a Service Animal. On the other hand, an animal that provides comfort and unconditional love to an individual that has an emotional disability (like depression, anxiety or phobias) is not considered an actual service animal, but rather an Emotional Support Animal or an ESA.
There are Federal laws in place that make it illegal to discriminate against an individual with a Service Dog, meaning they are allowed into all areas of public domain (i.e., restaurants, malls, libraries, public transit, etc.).
Mississippi is recognizes these regulations. If you live in Mississippi and need an ESA, you will be protected at the state and Federal level.
Qualify for an ESA Letter Online
Vachss the Courtroom Emotional Support Canine
Prosecutors and judges are finding that the presence of a well-trained dog aids witness testimony by providing the victim with emotional support and comfort both in the witness room and in the courtroom. Success stories are beginning to emerge demonstrating that the use of canines in the courtroom not only provides the victim with a more favorable outcome but also offers the victim a positive, life-changing experience.
One of the original courthouse dogs to aid young victims was a German Shepherd named Vachss, used by the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1990s.
Vachss has helped many victims by offering up a furry shoulder to cry on or just being a cuddly confidante who listens to their secrets and comforts them during courtroom appearances.
The Shepherd was licensed and trained to work with children and escorted a number of them into the courtroom for their testimony against their accused sexual offenders.
In 1994 Vachss was presented with the Hero of the Year award for this vital role. Since Vachss provides comfort to others, not just his handler, he is considered a certified therapy dog and emotional support dog.
The ESA in the University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi recognizes the need and the benefits of students having both Service Dogs and Assistance Animals.
The University defines an “Assistance Animal” as:
“Animals that enable a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy student housing by alleviating the symptoms of the disability. Unlike a Service Animal, an Assistance Animal might not be trained, and it does not accompany a person with a disability at all times. Although Assistance Animals may be considered for limited access to university housing, they are not permitted in other areas of the university (e.g., libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, student center, etc.).”
Reasonable accommodation will be made for an Assistance Animal except for the following circumstances;
- The animal is out of control, and effective action cannot control it or is not taken to control it
- Its size is prohibitive concerning the size of the residence hall
- The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by reasonable modifications – an animal with a history of biting or aggression may be considered to pose such a threat
- The animal is not house broken
- The animal’s presence fundamentally alters the nature of programs, services, or activities in student housing
- Any other reason that is deemed reasonable by the faculty
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi
If you believe your mental health would be improved with the help of an Emotional Support Animal, then ask your mental health professional for an ESA letter.
The ESA letter is in the form of a document written by the licensed mental health professional. It must be printed on the licensed mental health professional’s letterhead and contain the following information;
- The licensed mental health professional’s license number, state, and date it was issued, as well as the type of medicine the doctor is practicing.
- Licensed mental health professional’s signature
- You must also be under the professional care of the stated licensed mental health professional
The letter is only valid for one year after the issued date. If your licensed mental health professional is not familiar with ESA regulations or does not believe in animal therapy, you can seek support through ESA Doctors. We are a technology company that has been helping people who need emotional support animals but do not have access to care IRL for half a decade.
Qualify for an ESA Letter Online
You & Your ESA in Mississippi
Although the Federal laws are very evident when it comes to the Emotional Support Animal, Mississippi has taken it to another level. Canines in the courtroom have calmed the nerves of many children when testifying against their abusers and the use of the Emotional Support Animals on the college campus is allowing students to move forward with their higher education.
If you think you could benefit from an ESA ask a mental health professional for an ESA Letter or connect with one online by starting the ESA questionnaire in the link below. Getting back to living a healthy life is vital for any human being.
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Get the Love and Support you deserve!