Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are domesticated animals that serve those suffering from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or other psychological conditions. While having an animal companion is often an overlooked component of treating mental health issues, using a holistic approach affirms that someone’s environment (including pets within it) can be just as important as food, medicine, or exercise.
Unlike service animals who require special training, an emotional support animal can be your pet. Whether living here permanently or temporarily, many people in Hawaii can qualify for an emotional support animal with an ESA letter via verification of a diagnosable condition from a mental health professional. An ESA letter, or Prescription Letter, is official verification that your pet is necessary for your emotional support as part of your treatment.
An ESA letter allows access to rented housing (including those with no-pet policies) and airplanes, forgoing associated fees. Protected under the Fair Housing Amendment Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the ESA letter cannot be ignored. The person and ESA it covers cannot be denied housing.
Is it necessary to note that business owners are not required to allow emotional support animals into their businesses; only service animals have a more comprehensive range when it comes to where they can and cannot go.
It’s essential to know the difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal:
An emotional support animal can be any animal, from dogs and cats to ponies and lizards. They help alleviate your symptoms simply by being present.
A service animal is trained to do specific tasks to aid a person with a disability. They are not pets but trained companions.
While there are limitations on what an emotional support animal can go versus where a service animal may go, they are still an excellent way to help you cope with mental health challenges.
Make an appointment today to see if your pet can be certified as an emotional support animal through our ESA evaluations.