Did you know that 20% of all Americans suffer from a mental illness? Emotional support animals (ESA) have been used for decades to help people cope with their conditions.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with a mental illness, you may be wondering how you can request an ESA letter from your doctor. An ESA letter is an official letter that recognizes your pet as a service animal.
Getting this letter from your primary care doctor is key if you want to bring your emotional support animal anywhere. If you need help in getting your ESA letter, continue reading to learn more.
Set Up a Consultation with Your Doctor
The first step in getting an ESA letter is booking a consultation with your doctor. During this meeting, you’ll need to explain the details of your mental illnesses if you haven’t done so before.
The goal of the meeting is for your doctor to confirm that you meet all the criteria for having a disability recognized by the United States, such as:
- Social anxiety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
What’s more, is that an ESA family practice will recognize your disability if you suffer from a mild issue. For example, you can get an ESA letter if you have dyslexia or have trouble coping without your pet.
Speak to Your Doctor
During your consultation, you’ll need to talk to your doctor about your mental issue. Most people find this to be difficult. So, make sure you talk at your own pace and reveal details you’re comfortable sharing.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in fraudulent applications. These people usually want an ESA letter to bring their pet along on airplane trips. Thus, some doctors may be reluctant to issue an ESA letter.
To work around this, you should be upfront and seek alternative forms of care for your mental illness. This will show your doctor that you’re serious about keeping your issue under control.
If you’re already in therapy, you can talk to your therapist instead of your doctor. Your therapist can approve your ESA letter without the consent of your doctor.
Receive Your ESA Letter
After you’ve been approved to have an ESA letter, it should be mailed to you quickly. In fact, some doctors may give your ESA letter as soon as they approve it.
When you receive your ESA letter, you should make sure it contains the following:
- The signature and letterhead of your doctor
- Your doctor’s license information (state, issue date, and number)
- Your doctor’s office address
- Written confirmation that you suffer from a mental illness
- Written confirmation that an ESA is necessary
You should be careful when receiving an ESA letter. There are many scams online where people can get fake ESA letters. A valid ESA letter should also include the breed and species of your pet. Working with an experienced doctor will make sure you don’t get a fake ESA letter.
Need Help Getting an ESA Letter?
As you can see, it’s not difficult to get an ESA letter. Following these tips can help you get an ESA letter the right way. You can also avoid getting a fake ESA letter for your situation.
Do you want to learn more about how to get an ESA letter? If so, check out more of our helpful articles.