There are many treatments available for people who struggle with mental health, and one of the most popular treatments these days is using an emotional support animal. To learn more about the process of obtaining a legal and valid emotional support animal letter, read on.
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What the Process of Getting an ESA Letter Looks Like
You may be wondering if you need to jump through a lot of loopholes if it costs a fortune, and how to avoid scams. The process is actually quite simple and you can start it right now on our website.
Matching You With A LMHP (licensed mental health professional)
Our ESA Letters are legitimate because the process to get one involves a consultation with a licensed mental health professional in your state. The registration starts with asking you some personal details, like your name, your pets name, and logistics information. The great thing about registration with us is that it is 100% risk-free. If you are for some reason denied an ESA letter, you will not be charged. Essentially our ESA letter service boils down to these steps:
- Call to see if you qualify for a free consultation or just to ask us a question about the process.
- A doctor in our network may be able to prescribe an emotional support animal with only one phone call
- You don’t pay anything unless the mental health professional approves you
- There’s absolutely no risk to you, so give us a call!
Receiving Your Letter
Once your consultation is over and you have been approved for an ESA, you will receive your Doctor Letter for Housing immediately via email for print and use. Now you can use your letter to live with your animal without worry!
Does Your Pet Need Training
Some animals are trained to pick up on a person’s mental health symptoms and some are naturally more in-tune with their owners’ emotions. Whatever the case, your animal is not required to be trained in order to become an emotional support animal.
While certain animals are more common and can be trained for specific emotional support, such as dogs or cats, any domesticated animal can work as an ESA. Furthermore, ESA animals do not need to be registered anywhere in particular. Once you have the ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional, you can choose your support animal as you wish and use the ESA letter as needed.
The most common emotional support animals are dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits, but there are some unique ones out there as well, such as pigs or hedgehogs. Choose an emotional support animal which truly calms you and benefits your lifestyle.
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What Does an ESA Letter Say?
An ESA letter is written by a practicing Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP), and must include their license number, type, and the date it was issued. Furthermore, it needs to contain the date the ESA letter was issued and the signature of the LMHP who issued the ESA letter.
The ESA letter states that you have a mental condition which qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal “prescription”. It often explains that the animal is necessary for you to live a full lifestyle and specifically helps with symptoms caused by a diagnosed mental condition you have.
Sometimes, the ESA letter may list the specific animal/breed you chose as your animal, although this is not necessary. It will contain your name and any details the LMHP thinks are valid, and it will contain their recommendation that you use an ESA in treatment for your mental disorder so that you can function fully and feel comfortable.
This is a valid professional perspective and will help apartment complexes, landlords, etc. see that your animal serves a purpose.
Benefits of an ESA Letter
You may wonder if acquiring an ESA letter is necessary or worth it. Many people are going through “shortcut” methods to try and get this needed mental health recommendation, and they often end up losing money to a scam.
Today, more and more people are seeking ESA letters simply so they can get a cat in a college apartment which otherwise wouldn’t allow animals on the premises. Unfortunately, this is making it difficult for those who actually need emotional support animals to ease anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many other disorders.
If you really need a furry friend to calm you down and treat your mental illness, what are the benefits of an ESA letter? Here are two of the main ones:
- Rentals: Many apartments and rental units may not allow animals on the premises or will require a huge fee for keeping a pet. If you have an ESA letter, some of these fees may be waived (depending on the rental company), and you may also be allowed to keep your beloved and soothing animal in areas in which they are not permitted.
- Stores: Certain stores are not too happy about animals walking through their buildings, and if you feel frustrated or uncomfortable due to your mental condition when you are in public places, you may be allowed to walk with your ESA by showing a valid ESA letter.
Who Qualifies for an ESA Letter
Requirements for receiving an ESA letter are becoming increasingly more strict as certain groups of people are abusing the mental health aspect of these letters and are using them instead as excuses to dodge no-pet policies in residential buildings.
You may be wondering who qualifies today for an ESA letter? Persons who have diagnosed mental disorders have sought treatment through medications and therapy or counseling, and whose specific symptoms are treated by the presence of an animal may qualify for an ESA letter, as long as their LMHP professionally recommends it.
Those individuals may have one or more of the following mental health disorders:
- Agoraphobia or other phobias
- Socially-induced high stress or anxiety (above average)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Grieving over a large loss
- Other Less Common Mental and Emotional Disorders
An individual is qualified as determined by a licensed mental health professional who has determined that the patient’s mental health will be benefited through the companionship of an emotional support animal. Some of those expected symptom alleviations may lead to:
- Less stress and lower blood pressure
- Fewer panic attacks or anxiety-related symptoms
- Increased function in regular daily tasks
- Better sleep quality
- Increased ability to spend time around other people
- Feeling of security in places patients would otherwise find uncomfortable
- Motivation and sense of purpose, as well as general wellbeing.
How Often Do ESA Letters Need to Be Renewed?
ESA letters are valid for one year and need to be renewed on an annual basis. This means that if you rent long-term, your landlord legally has the right to ask to see you renewed ESA letter every year.
Who Can “Prescribe” an Emotional Support Animal?
While you may be regularly taking a medication for a mental health condition, and you may even be attending therapy or counseling on a regular basis, you probably aren’t sure if your doctor is authorized to write you an ESA letter.
The fact is, many family doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for certain mental disorders, but they are not able to write a valid ESA letter. However, you could ask your doctor or chosen medical professional about any LMHP (licensed mental health professional or practitioner) nearby who they would recommend.
Generally, LMHP’s are attained by therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists. Look for practitioners in your area and research their credentials, including whether or not they are licensed medical health practitioners. There are websites where you can be linked with local mental health practitioners who may evaluate you for an ESA.
(sources: emotionalpetsupport.com, usserviceanimals.org)