This week in ESA news, colleges around the country are reporting a surge in popularity of students using emotional support animals at campuses. Many students that may not attend colleges otherwise are using these animals for support to help them to complete their studies and follow their dreams. Let’s find out more.
Emotional Support Animals Grow in Popularity with College Students
College students around the country dealing with mental illness—particularly those with depression and anxiety, have discovered a new treatment method that is taking the higher education population by storm. Using emotional support animals, or ESAs, is a form of treatment that is helping to assist students in enrolling in and completing their studies successfully, without relying solely on heavy medication.
ESAs can be particularly helpful to students that are suffering from clinical depression, providing comfort and motivation to them.
Take Liz Tempesta from Temple University who suffers from clinical depression. The 19-year-old sophomore last year tried a new type of treatment: a cat.
Skittles, her 8-year-old tabby (Liz’s first emotional-support animal), has lived on campus with Liz in Johnson Hall her freshman year, forcing her into a healthy routine and snuggling up with her when she was affected by her mental illness. Now, in some ways, he’s made her feel whole. “If I have feelings for this animal,” she said, “that means I’m still human.”
This is an excellent example of how ESAs can help to improve the condition of students who are struggling with their mental health, in a natural and accessible way.
While there has been some outcry at the recent upswing in popularity of these animals, with some saying that there are those that abuse the title with fake assistance animals, in order to be able to take their pets anywhere, there are many who are positive about this form of therapy. Clearly, students like Liz, who require these animals for their conditions, benefit from them enormously.
Colleges are still grappling with the growing popularity of emotional support animals, and many are currently revising their rules and regulations regarding the use of the animals on campus. Some colleges have reported increases of up to 300% in the number of students submitting applications to live with their ESA on campus.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) supports the right of those with disabilities, including mental disabilities, to have access to reasonable accommodation, meaning that landlords are not able to deny housing to those with ESAs on the basis of a ‘no pet’ policy.
This also applies to college housing, meaning students are legally allowed to keep animals that are prescribed by their licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in dorm rooms across the country.
Of course, many colleges have their own rules and procedures for permitting ESAs, however, with an ESA letter, in most cases, it is usually a straight forward process to get an ESA into Campus housing.
CertPet’s View on Bringing an ESA Onto Campus
CertaPet fully supports the use of ESAs for college students, but only for those who truly need them. Every person who brings an ESA to college when they don’t really need one is taking away from those who truly require the support of an assistance animal.
If you’re a college student looking at options to treat your mental health concerns while you study, it’s easy to find out if you are eligible for an ESA.
Simply start by taking our free online 5-minute pre-screening, and if your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 business hrs!
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