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 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, you can complete the questionnaire in the link below to get help from a licensed mental health professional.
Emotional Support Animal ≠ Service Animal
There is often confusion when it comes to how Emotional Support Animals are categorized. In the eyes of the law, an ESA is not the same as a Service Animal. Service animals are canines that are individually 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.).
An ESA, on the other hand, can be of any species and is there purely to help comfort and calm an individual suffering from emotional issues (i.e., phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.). These types of animals do not require any specialized training.
Emotional support animals are protected in housing just like service dogs are. ESAs must be allowed in no-pet buildings and are exempt from pet fees and deposits. ESAs are also exempt from pet size and weight restrictions.
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 types of doctors and professionals include;
- Psychiatric RN
- Psychologist (PhD or PsyD)
- Mental health counselor
Your licensed mental health professional (LMPH) will assess your condition to see if it corresponds to one of the documented conditions laid out by the DSM IV or V.
Common conditions that qualify for an ESA include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD.
What Does an ESA Letter Require?
Legitimate ESA letters conform to the following standards:
- Written on your LMHP’s letterhead
- Establish that you have a mental health disability
- Recommend an emotional support animal to help alleviate symptoms of that disability
- Contain the LMHP’s license number
- Contain the LMHP’s signature and date
You can find an example of what an ESA letter looks like at this link.
*(LMPH = licensed mental health professional)
How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me for an ESA Letter?
Option 1: If you don’t currently have a therapist, you can try asking your general practitioner for a referral or contacting your health insurance carrier to find providers that are in-network. Your GP can help assess your mental health needs and direct you to the type of therapist you could most benefit from (e.g., a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.). You can also search for local therapists online using a directory for mental health professionals.
Option 2: Many people, unfortunately, do not have a current doctor or therapist to turn to. Or, their existing provider may be unfamiliar with emotional support animal procedures. If you’re having trouble finding a therapist who provides ESA letters, your best option is to use a service provider like ESA Doctors. ESA Doctors saves you the time and headache of finding someone qualified to write ESA letters.
ESA Doctors works with independent healthcare professionals who are licensed for your state. These mental health professionals specialize in ESA letters so you can get the help you need. Best of all, the entire process is handled remotely, so you never have to make any in-person office visits.
The advent of online remote mental health services has been a game-changer for those afflicted with mental illnesses. Before, finding the right professional for an ESA letter could feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
With ESA Doctors, it’s never been easier to connect with a compassionate mental health professional knowledgeable about emotional support animals and can provide you with a legitimate ESA letter.
Complete the ESA questionnaire to connect with a therapist near you:
Get the Love and Support you deserve!
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