Animal lovers are already aware of how capable these creatures are of providing solace and companionship to individuals who are going through troubled periods. Interestingly, this also includes the ones who go through a great level of trauma and mental health issues. Considering this very fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act observes the importance of possessing an emotional support animal (ESA).
An ESA is defined as a service pet of any life form that has been ascertained by a counselor or psychologist to help bring comfort to people suffering from major identified mental illness or severe disability. As per a 2021 research study conducted by a social care researcher at the University of Toledo, having an emotional support animal reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
The significance of ESAs is very well recognized by state and federal laws in the USA. However, it is mandated that individuals who want to own an ESA, must obtain a testimonial from a qualified healthcare professional, known as the ESA letter.
This blog will explain what an ESA letter is and how to obtain one.
What is an ESA letter?
An ESA letter, short for emotional support animal letter, is an application or certificate that allows individuals to be associated with a companion animal. A practicing Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP), such as a counselor, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, psychologist, certified mental health specialist, or doctor, must issue and sign the letter for approval.
Such a letter is mostly required in situations where pets are not authorized, such as rented accommodation, where you need to make the property owners understand that your pet plays an important role in helping you operate wholeheartedly and live a healthy, decent life.
What must an ESA letter include inside it?
Your documented letter for ESA must include the following details to guarantee its genuineness:
LMHP’s official letterhead: Since an ESA letter must always be documented by a practicing LMHP, it needs to have their signature, logo, address, license number and type, the title and other important details of the practice or office. ESA letters written on pieces of paper or even other stationery would be rejected.
Correct Data: The ESA letter must also must display your name and any other information the LMHP believes is relevant including the date the ESA letter was issued. Not only that, the letter must mention that you have a psychological condition that qualifies you for an ESA “prescribed medication” and that you really require the pet as a cure.
Other Elements: In certain instances, the particular animal or breed you picked as your pet could well be mentioned in the ESA letter, but that’s not always required.
How to get an ESA letter?
The ESA letter can be obtained in two main ways: offline mode and online mode .
The ESA Letter Offline Procedure: The offline process of securing an ESA letter is not at all complex, especially if you are currently receiving therapy. Below are listed the steps:
- Speaking to your LMHP:
- You must first schedule an appointment with your LMHP who is treating your mental disorder.
- Explain to the LMHP why you believe a pet will indeed benefit your medical condition or why you really want them to move in and reside with you in places where pets are not permitted.
- If the specialist believes there is a genuine need for such an ESA, they will certainly be pleased to post the ESA letter.
- Provide an ESA Sample Letter:
- Present an ESA sample letter to the healthcare professional to ensure that they include all of the data required for a perfectly legitimate letter.
- You can easily search for such samples online.
- Grab your letter from your LMHP’s office:
- Your LMHP could consider writing your letter right away, or they could ask you to return it. Please notify them if you require it by a particular deadline.
- Once you receive it, take a printout copy of your letter for your own record keeping prior to actually delivering it to them to the relevant person.
Note: If your LMHP refuses to compose you a letter, do not be too frustrated. Inquire as to why they’re refusing to draft a letter. You could perhaps say or do some other things to persuade them, like requesting that they suggest a coworker who is inclined to write the letter.
The ESA Letter Online Procedure: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased individuals’ awareness of several online services, which provide a low-cost environment for individuals to get the assistance they require. It is thanks to these advances in technology that it has never been easier to get help from an ESA letter online without leaving your house.
- Fill out Questionnaires:
The very first step in obtaining an ESA letter is to genuinely determine whether it is important for you to obtain one. This could be largely decided by using the survey questionnaire accessible online.
Fill out all the details that is required for pre-qualification.
- Therapist Will Contact:
To meet the ESA letter requirements, you will need to directly interact with a therapist. If you are eligible for the letter, your certificate would be sent in around 1 to 5 days in most instances.
- Receive an Email:
Your ESA Specialist will send your confirmation letter via email for an ESA within a few days of approval. Based on your requirements, your document could be used for commercial aviation, housing, or other apartment complexes.
With an ESA letter, you could indeed move, travel, and live with your ESA for free in the USA. Since this is a highly beneficial opportunity, individuals rush out to get a certified pet. This very plea, however, paves the way for a lot of scams, which would only end up doing more damage than good.
As a result, we advise our readers to avoid falling victim to online scams and to ensure that their ESA documents meet all the letter criteria as mentioned above.