An emotional support animal is an important mental health aid to those with certain psychological conditions. Emotional support animals (check out this guide) help their owners cope with the symptoms of their mental disorder. Psychologists and mental health professionals recommend emotional support animals for a variety of common conditions like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. ESAs provide love and support to their owners, which is essential for their mental health and well being.
The ESA Laws
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prevents discrimination against those with disabilities in areas of public life, which includes employment, transportation, schools, and places open to the general public. Under the ADA, there are two laws for emotional support animals the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act prevents landlords from discriminating against someone for having an ESA. Even if the housing association or apartment complex does not allow pets usually, they must accept emotional support animals. There is no pet fee or pet deposit. ESA owners are responsible for any damages caused by their emotional support animal. Landlords must give reasonable accommodation to those with disabilities, which includes allowing emotional support animals.
Air Carrier Access Act
Under the Air Carrier Access Act, emotional support animals can fly with their owners. They can sit in their owner’s lap or in the space in front of their seat. There is no pet fee charged by the airline. Airlines must provide reasonable accommodation to those with disabilities, but many are only allowing cats and dogs as emotional support animals for other passenger’s convenience and safety.
How to Get an ESA
All you need to get an emotional support animal is a letter from a licensed mental health professional. There is no training required for ESAs, and there is no emotional support animal registry. Badges, vests, and any other ESA identification are optional. Only those with qualifying psychological disabilities are eligible for an emotional support animal. You must have a pet already (one that provides therapeutic benefit) before you can get an ESA letter.
Qualifying ESA Conditions
Many of the conditions that a licensed mental health professional can write an emotional support letter for are super common and are often undiagnosed. If you have a diagnosed condition or believe you have a psychological disorder but have not been formally diagnosed, start by taking the Certapet 5-Minute Pre-Screening to see if your condition is eligible and connect with a licensed mental health professional practicing in your state.
Emotional support animals help those with certain mental disabilities by providing love and support. The presence of an ESA lowers their owner’s anxiety and stress, helping them cope with the symptoms of their psychological disorder. Licensed mental health professionals can write ESA letters for their patients who they feel their pet provides therapeutic benefit, improving mental well being. ESAs can live in housing that does not normally permit pets and landlords cannot charge a pet fee or pet deposit. ESAs can also fly with their owners without a pet fee or carrier.