What to Know About Getting an Emotional Support Animal Certification

Wondering if an emotional support animal certification could help you or a loved one wanting to adopt an animal for help with mental health issues? Or, if you already have an animal that provides emotional support, are you wondering how to go about making them an emotional support animal? Find out what you need to know about getting an emotional support animal certification, what the process involves, and what to expect right here.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is an animal that provides emotional support to someone living with a mental health diagnosis. This emotional support can include providing comfort and companionship as therapeutic elements to a person’s care. Animals considered to be qualified for emotional support vary, but there are some restrictions on the type of animal that can be considered to become an emotional support animal.

What an Emotional Support Animal Is NOT

Emotional support animals often get confused with service animals. Service animals are animals that help to provide a service to their handlers, whether it be to guide someone who’s blind, alert a person of an oncoming epileptic seizure, or help a person through a mental health attack (like a panic attack). Emotional support animals are NOT service animals, as they are not trained to enact specific services relative to health, safety, or mental health. This means that they cannot:

-Board planes with the same exceptions as service animals
-Enter into public spaces with the same exceptions as service animals
-Be called service animals

The Benefits of Getting or Having an Emotional Support Animal

Having an emotional support animal doesn’t benefit an individual by performing tasks specific to mental or physical disabilities. Rather, they help with emotional needs simply by existing. They can provide great comfort and support for people dealing with emotion-related issues including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • OCD
  • bipolar disorder
  • panic disorder
  • mood disorders
  • PTSD
  • phobias
  • stress disorders
  • personality disorders
  • social anxiety disorder
What Animals Can be Considered for Emotional Support Certification?

Typically, animals that are accepted as emotional support animals are dogs or cats. But, there have been a few exceptions in species including pigs, mice, hedgehogs, ferrets, birds, and rabbits. Furthermore, an animal may become certified as an emotional support animal at any age, so it can be a pet you have already had for quite some time or a pet that you’ve adopted out of a shelter. As long as the animal is well-behaved in public settings, it can be considered for emotional support evaluation.

Emotional Support Evaluations at Southcoast Psychiatric Services

Think that an emotional support animal may help you or a loved one? Or, already have an animal that provides you with emotional support for your emotional needs? If so, you can be considered for an emotional support certification from a certified mental health specialist. Remember, an animal is only considered an emotional support animal if they have this legitimate certification, only given to those who have received mental health diagnoses and are considered in need. Find out more about our emotional support animal evaluation today!