Searching for licensed mental health professional (LMHP) or “ESA doctors near me”* can seem like a daunting task. A licensed mental health professional evaluates patients with mental and emotional illnesses and helps them on their road to recovery. To learn more about how finding a LMHP in your state: read on!
*Note: What makes an ESA letter valid and legal is a LMHP’s approval and signature. Because “LMHP” covers a vast number of careers, a doctor (someone with a Ph.D.) is not necessarily required. But please make sure, a real licensed mental health professional in your state writes you a prescription for an ESA and no one else!
What is an Emotional Support Letter? And Why Do I Need One?
Getting an emotional support animal (ESA) is both a life-changing and rewarding experience. Emotional support animals are a type of assistance animal whose job is to provide safety and comfort to people with mental health problems.
An ESA can help a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), postpartum depression, anxiety, and more. However, they aren’t as easy to acquire as one might think. If you’d like to get an emotional support animal, then you will need an emotional support animal letter.
ESA letters can only be provided by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They often state a person’s need for an emotional support animal by their side. Finally, it is crucial to remember that without an emotional support animal letter, you will not be protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA).
There are Two Ultimate Federal Laws That Protect ESA Owners
Before you begin searching for ESA doctors near me, you need to understand the two fundamental laws that will protect you and your companion. In the United States, these two laws are the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Whether You Have a Fear of Flying or Public Places: The ACAA Has You Covered!
Undoubtedly, the reason many people get an ESA is that they experience mood disorders, depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks. Today, flying in an aircraft can pose to be a challenging experience for people with anxiety. Fortunately, you can get an emotional support animal to help you out!
The law that protects assistance animals during air travel is known as the Air Carriers Access Act. This law states that a person with an emotional disability can board an aircraft with their ESA at no-cost.
Under this law, if the animal meets the size requirements, you are allowed to bring your ESA in the cabin. However, to be protected by this law you must:
- Provide a valid ESA letter
- Your ESA dog must be well-trained and well-behaved at all times.
- You will need to provide 48-hour notice to your aircraft indicating your need for travel with an ESA
You’ll Never Have to Abandon Your ESA When You Rent Accommodation: The FHA
When you get an ESA dog, you are also be protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act. This housing and urban law dictates that people with an assistance animal—such as an ESA— have the right to reasonable accommodation.
This means that your landlord or housing agency cannot reject your ESA dog should you provide them with an ESA letter. In addition to that, landlord and property managers cannot charge ESA owners a pet-fee as emotional support animals are considered assistance animals and not pets.
The Reason Behind ESA Doctors Near Me: You Need to Find a LMHP in Your State!
Heard of ESA doctors near me? It’s good to clear up the confusion.
You don’t have to have a doctor (someone with a Ph.D.) take your case. While your own doctor can, any licensed mental health professional in your state can write a valid ESA letter if you as their patient seem you would benefit from an emotional support animal.
They not only provide you with an ESA letter, but they can also provide you with ongoing therapy for your mental illness.
Is ESA Doctors Legitimate? How to Spot Real AND Fake ESA Services!
When you begin searching for ESA doctors near me, you’re going to come across a lot of fakes! Now don’t be too alarmed, spotting a fake ESA certification service is actually pretty easy. You need to watch out for these red flags.
- There is no such thing as an ESA certification or registry, only an ESA letter. Any company that claims that they will register your dog or cat as an emotional support animal is offering a fake service.
- An ESA “doctor” that provides an “instant” ESA letter upon a quick evaluation is a fake. A genuine ESA company will connect you to a licensed mental health professional who will evaluate your mental and emotional well-being.
Do They Offer Your Emotional Support Dog an Instant “ESA Doctors Note”?
A LMHP has to issue the letter, otherwise, it is worthless. There is no such thing as a legitimate “instant ESA letter”!
Do They Offer Some Sort of Emotional Support Animal Registration or Certification?
Fraudulent websites are very quick to offer emotional support animal registration or certification. There is no such thing as ESA registration or certification.
Do They Offer a Bunch of Emotional Support Dog Swag You Don’t Need?
It is so easy to fall prey to the glitz and glam of ESA swag that fraudulent ESA websites offer. While ESA harnesses, tags and vests are encouraged, they’re not required. The only thing that legally separates an ESA from a pet is an ESA letter issued by a LMHP.
An ESA Doctors Review: Too Many Red Flags
To begin, ESA Doctors is not BBB (Better Business Bureau) accredited and has 7 complaints filed against them. One review as such:
“Paid for services that were not provided. Purchased the housing plan for $189, plus the extra document service, plus the expedited shipping. I was under the impression I would be able to speak with someone before they print and mail and generalized letter. My therapist did not include the extra documents I requested in the letter. This is a complete waste of money if the letter does not say what my landlord requires. There is no way to speak to someone on the phone before they send out the letter. My landlord has informed me that all of these online esa letters are scams. When I asked the therapist about the other things I needed in the letter she said she would have to ask ESA Doctors and has not responded back to me since. I have sent another email trying to get an update, no reply. So they won’t talk to you on the phone and they won’t email you back after they take your money. Bad business.” – BBB reviewer
Another note is that there is no address presented anywhere on the website, which can be misleading for people in need. When you try to contact them, you can’t directly, only through giving your email and filling out a questionnaire can you maybe see their phone number and email (and that’s a strong hope!).
Are You Thinking: “I Can’t Find a Doctor Near Me!”? Don’t Worry, CertaPet is Here to Help!
One important thing to remember is that you do not need to see a licensed therapist in person to get your ESA letter. Today, more and more licensed mental health professionals can reach out to people in need online!
Luckily, be it through Skype or other platforms, therapists and psychiatrists can help you cope with your mental illness without being there in person.
With that being said, if you are unable to find a licensed mental health therapist in your area, CertaPet can help!
CertaPet firmly believes that no one should suffer in silence from their mental health disorder. We understand the importance of an animal—an emotional support animal—can have on a person’s well-being. CertaPet makes it easy to get your (legitimate) ESA letter.
To see if you qualify for an ESA letter, we highly recommend taking the 5-minute pre-screening questionnaire. If by the end of the questionnaire you are deemed a strong candidate for an ESA, then you’ll be connected to one of our licensed mental health professionals.
Let Us Help You Find The Perfect LMHP to Get You Back on Your Feet
If you’re ready to stop searching for ESA doctors near me, then you’ve come to the right place. CertaPet is here to help you connect with a LMHP so that you not only get an ESA letter, but you also get the help you need.