Many of us struggle in today’s busy world. We may feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or even depressed. These emotions are normal from time-to-time and often pass within days or even hours. However, if you experience persistent negative feelings or those that hinder your daily activities, it’s best to seek help.
If you enjoy the company of animals and have the means to support one, part of your road to wellness may be to enlist the aid of an Emotional Support Animal.
In this post, we will explore how to find a therapist for an ESA letter so you can be eligible for the benefits of having the furry support you need. If you already know that an ESA would benefit you, please complete the questionnaire in the link below and a licensed mental health professional will assist you today.
An Emotional Support Animal is NOT a Service Animal
There may be some confusion when it comes to the Emotional Support Animal. In the eyes of the law, an ESA is not the same as a Service Animal. Service animals are usually of the canine species and are specifically trained to perform a task for a disabled individual. These tasks can vary in degree but are always used as a physical tool to aid the person (i.e., opening doors, guiding, alerting to an oncoming medical condition, etc.).
The ESA, on the other hand, can be of any species and is there purely to help comfort and calm the individual that suffers from emotional issues (i.e., phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.). These types of animals do not require any specialized training.
For these reasons, the Service Dog will be allowed into all public areas, whereas the Emotional Support Animal is only (by law) allowed into “no pets” policy rental units and the cabin of an aircraft.
Getting a Legitimate ESA Letter
To have a legitimate Emotional Support Animal, you must first obtain a letter from a licensed mental health professional. These type of doctors and professionals include;
- Psychiatric RN
- Mental health counselor
Your doctor/mental health professional will then assess your condition to see if it falls under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) documented illnesses laid out by the DSM IV or V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 or 5). If you qualify, your physician can then write you a prescription for the Emotional Support Animal.
What Does an ESA Letter Require?
There are details that must be included on a legitimate ESA letter;
- Written on the doctor/therapist’s letterhead
- The type of license the doctor/therapist holds
- The date the license was issued and the license number
- The state where the license was issued
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a good place to start in regards to sample letters for emotional support animals.
How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me for an ESA Letter?
Whether you live in a large city or not, you should have access to a licensed mental health professional. You can ask your general practitioner for a referral. Your GP can help assess your mental health needs and direct you to the type of therapist you will best benefit from (i.e., a psychiatrist, social worker, therapist, etc.).
Another route is to do a general web search by typing in “ESA Doctors Near Me”. From the results, you can plug in your information and find the nearest ESA professional in your area.
If you have already done a general search on the topic of ESA letters, then you have most likely encountered websites that offer Emotional Support Letters for a fee. This may seem like an “easy” fix; however, many of these sites offer ESA letters from one therapist that may or may not be licensed to practice in your state. These ESA letter mills may churn out letters at an alarming rate and may not be accepted by your airline or landlord.
Make sure that you do your homework and find a legitimate source like ESADoctors.com for your ESA letter.