US Service Animals – World Mental Health Day

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. On this day, the world brings awareness to mental health issues and advocates against social stigma of mental illnesses. Mental Health covers a plethora of conditions including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. Even though there are tens of millions of adults in the USA who suffer from some sort of mental or emotional disorder, mental health is not treated with the same seriousness and respect as other medical conditions.

Misunderstood

Despite how widespread mental disorders are in the United States, there are a lot of misunderstandings about what exactly the disorders are and how they affect others. Many are dismissive of conditions like depression or anxiety. It is not uncommon for people in the media to make claims like “it’s all in your head” or “it’s just life”. Diminishing mental conditions by implying it is all imaginary or blown out of proportion is dangerous and inhumane. Shaming a person who suffers from mental disorders could make them less likely to seek help from doctors and psychiatrists. If a person does not get the help they need, it could lead to self-harm and further suffering. No one should feel shame for suffering from any disorders, and it is important for everyone to get the help they need.

Treatment

Medication is an option for some of these disorders, but not everyone has the ability or access to medicine for mental disorders. Many people do not have access or the financial ability to pay for expensive treatments. Some people turn to therapy and support groups to cope with their mental and anxiety disorders, and other may opt for natural treatments such as CBD (cannabidiol) for kids with anxiety. The spotlight is now on to people who turn to their animal companions for comfort and support. Dog and cat lovers already know of the support their companions provide, and science is also starting to back up the use of animals to alleviate loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Emotional Support Animals

Animals who provide emotional comfort and support to people with mental health issues are called Emotional Support Animals.  Emotional support animals are guaranteed housing rights by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) without standard associated pet fees, but ESA’s do not have the same public rights as service animals. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) used to protect ESAs (in addition to service animals) and allow them on planes for free, but that law has since been updated. Psychiatric service dogs are still protected under the ACAA, so if flying is debilitating and it’s possible to train your ESA for specific tasks it may be beneficial to look at service dog registration.

For ESA rights, a licensed mental health clinician must write a prescription letter. Our clinicians conduct evaluations over the phone and speak directly to our members and approve them for letters. The letters are written with cooperation between our legal team and mental health professionals to ensure that our approved members have the tools they need for their housing rights.

Many like to supplement an emotional support animal letter with an ID card and certificate for visual and easily accessible identification. Our registration is a fantastic aid for those in need of emotional support animals. Our services come with legal support should anyone try to challenge your rights, and we have 24/7 customer service. If you would like to see if you qualify for an evaluation with one of our mental health clinicians, please call (985) 242-7207 or email [email protected] In addition, we have multiple social media pages including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin for our members to follow for news and message for assistance.

Help Us Spread Awareness about Mental Health!

If you are in need of mental health crisis hotlines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours

RAINN / The Nation’s Largest Anti-Sexual Violence Organization

1-800-656-4673

Available 24/7

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233

Veterans Crisis Line

1-800-273-8255

Press 1

Available 24/7