May 07, 2019

Do You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An emotional support animal can really change the life of someone who is suffering from a mental disability. 

Wondering if you would qualify for an ESA? 

Here's everything you need to know...

Mental Disabilities That Qualify You for an ESA 

In order to qualify for an ESA, you need to first be dealing with a mental disability. This needs to be a disability that is officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

These are a few examples of mental disabilities that would qualify you for an ESA:

  •   Anxiety             
  •   Depression             
  •   Learning disabilities         
  •   Attention deficit disorder         
  •   Chronic stress         
  •   Post-traumatic stress disorder    

There are many others on the list that would also qualify you for an ESA.

How Does Your Mental Disability Affect Your Life? 

While having a mental disability of any sort can be difficult, this in itself is not enough to qualify you for an ESA.

In order to qualify, your mental disability needs to be one that has a significant impact on your daily life. This means that your disability limits you when it comes to doing certain things.

Finding Out Whether or Not You Qualify for an ESA

So, how do you find out for certain whether or not you qualify for an ESA?

Well, if you are already seeing a licensed mental health professional (such as a psychologist, therapist or counselor) about your mental disability, they would be the best person to ask.

If you aren't, there are a few reputable ESA websites out there that you can turn to. These act as a go-between with you and a licensed mental health professional (LMHP).

How exactly does that work?

Websites such as Certapet provide a pre-screening form that you can fill out. This is then sent to an LMHP who is local to you. After reviewing your information, your LMHP will likely then phone you to speak to you directly. After this, if they decide that you do qualify for an ESA, you will receive your ESA letter.

Wondering how long that all takes?

If you go through Certapet, it's surprisingly quick. The pre-screening takes five minutes to fill out, and you could have your letter with you in as little as 48 hours.

Choosing an ESA

If you do qualify for an ESA, the next step would be deciding on the type of ESA you want.

Dogs tend to be the most common type of ESA, but they are also not suitable for many people, whether due to lifestyle, commitments or anything else.

Fortunately, so many other animals out there can have the same positive effect on your life as a dog.

Here are a few other ESA types to consider:

  •   A cat         
  •   A bird, such as a parrot, budgie or chicken         
  •   A rabbit         
  •   A rodent, such as a hamster or a guinea pig         
  •   Fish        

If you think that an ESA could benefit you, it is worth looking into this further. It doesn't take long at all to find out for sure whether or not you qualify for an ESA, and this is something that could really change your life for the better.

*This blog post was written by Sophie Smith with the Creative Link Group. 


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