The modern world is filled with stress and difficulties. Some people manage them better, and some require professional help or emotional support. Unfortunately, the latest surveys and trends show that plenty of people are currently struggling with depression and other mental conditions that affect people’s lives quality and overall well-being.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is one of the options for mental illness treatment and health maintenance. But such an option requires the applicant to file appropriate documentation. Below, we will tell you how to compose a letter to get ESA.
In our article, we will touch upon such issues as:
These are animals that minimize the negative symptoms associated with a person’s emotional disability. Most often, such animals are represented by dogs or cats, but, of course, the definition is not limited to these two species.
The main thing is that the animal acts as a companion, providing a therapeutic effect and emotional assistance for the person struggling psychologically.
It is viewed as a means that helps a person function in everyday life, similar to everyone else. You may compare it to people with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs and crutches to stay on the move but only in terms of emotional support.
Scientists proved a while ago that people living with a support animal have succeeded in reducing stress and cortisol level, cholesterol, and generally improving their mental health condition. But do not mistake an ESA for a Service Animal as there is a primary difference: no special skills or courses are required for animals to become an ESA. Although, of course, it is in your best interest to have an animal distinguished by good behavior and obedience. ESA must not harm people, their or public property.
The presence of ESA gives several benefits to its owner:
The good news for those who love traveling but cannot afford to leave a pet alone at home is that an animal qualified as an ESA is allowed on board the planes and in most other places that usual pets typically cannot access. Plus, there is no fee for transferring ESAs or accommodation (it is prohibited by law to set such a fee in the first place).
Thus, this animal is your companion who is allowed to live with you or accompany you on trips. However, this does not guarantee the admission of your pet to restaurants or shops.
Usually, personal psychiatrists or psychologists should comprise a cover letter confirming the fact that the subject person is eligible to have a pet at home and is capable of taking proper care of it. It is important to note that the professional must be authorized by the respective authorities of the state you reside in.
The letter must certify that you have a diagnosis for which an ESA is recommended and that ESA is a part of your therapy.
Some airlines also ask that the letter indicate the breed and weight of the animal.
The letter must be performed on the official letterhead of the issuing specialist and include the doctor’s contact information, license number, and signature. Also, the document cannot be dated later than one-year of submission.
The letter contains the patient’s name and lists the limitations that ESA can help with.
Also, it will not be superfluous to indicate that you need the animal for travel and the identifying data of the animal (breed, weight).
We must warn you that document forgery is punishable under US law. You can use the sample letter to show it to your doctor, but they must complete and sign it themselves.
Sure, the US law governs the ESA adoption process as animals should be protected by any possible abuse or the threat of it coming from a human being. Thus, the ESA agencies shall comply with the following norms and requirements when performing their activities:
To get an opportunity to have an ESA, a licensed mental health expert must diagnose you with one of the mental disorders. They must be specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Here are some of the most common examples of such diseases:
In many mental illnesses, the presence of ESA improves the patient’s condition. While caring for someone else, people become distracted and learn to perform daily functions.
For some people, having an ESA even gives meaning in life. Caring for an animal can pull a person out of a depressed or anxious condition. Petting an ESA distracts and calms the person, reduces anxiety.
If you are a licensed professional and would like to write an ESA letter so that your patient could get an emotional support animal, you can use our form-building software to do so.
Also, check out our step-by-step guide to filling out the letter below to help you fill in all the information required for a successful application.
Obtain the Official Form Template
The letter must be written on the official letterhead of the person signing the document.
Date the Letter
Enter a date for filling out the letter. It is important to note that the duration of the letter cannot exceed a period of one year. After that, it is required to reconfirm the patient’s diagnosis and re-write the letter.
Provide the Specialist’s Data
It is necessary to indicate:
Put the Appeal
The specialist can indicate a specific appeal or write “To Whom It May Concern.”
Identify the Patient
It is necessary to indicate the patient’s full name and the period of the observation by a specialist.
Specify the Patient’s First Name
In these blank spaces, you should only indicate the Patient’s First name.
Describe the Limitations (if any)
Indicate what limitations the patient has in connection with the mental illness.
Repeat the Patient’s Name
The patient’s full name should be entered again in the blank.
Give a Recommendation Concerning Flights
The specialist may also write that the patient needs to fly with their ESA. Airlines would like the letter to indicate the type of animal, breed, and weight.
Sign the Letter
Put your signature, thereby certifying the authenticity of the letter.