Emotional Support Animals and College Students

In this day and age, many college students are reporting high levels of stress and anxiety in their daily lives and in school. An emotional support animal can be very beneficial to improve mental health for many college students.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2017 Annual Report from Penn State University, Anxiety and depression are the two most common reasons that students seek mental health services.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2017, more than 18 million students were enrolled in college in the U.S. According to figures compiled by Statista, and nearly three out of four of these students have experienced a sense of “overwhelming anxiety” at some time, with just under 30% report having felt overwhelming anxiety in the previous two weeks. 

Mental health is a serious and important issue that every individual should try to keep under control, but it’s hard to focus on mental health when lfe, school and work get in the way.

One beneficial form of mental health medication is an emotional support animal. Almost all types of domesticated animals can be an emotional support animal including dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, birds, rats, ferrets and more.

Joseph Trosclair, a junior at Southeastern, said,” My girlfriend has an emotional support animal. She’s the sweetest cat and I’ve really seen a difference in how my girlfriend has been feeling lately. She seems a lot more relaxed and happier.”

An emotional support animal can and therapy animals can help alleviate stressanxietydepression, feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Interactions with these animals can help people manage their long-term mental health conditions.

Olivia Gross a freshman at Southeastern said,” I love my dog. I take him into big public places like Target and Walmart because he helps me stay calm. I’m currently in the process of getting him registered, but it’s not easy. “

In a survey of pet owners done by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership, and 75% of pet owners reported a friend’s or family member’s mental health has improved from pet ownership.

Many college campuses are also now required to allow students to have emotional support animals on campus and in residential buildings due to the Fair Housing Act.

Serena Brown, a sophomore at Southeastern, said,” My dog is a registered emotional support animal and she lives in the campus apartments with me. She helps me stay responsible and keeping pushing myself everyday, and I get a lot more exercise now that I have to take her out like ten times a day.”

To qualify for an emotional support animal, all a person needs to do is have a primary doctor, psychiatrist, licensed therapist or nurse practitioner write an emotional support letter saying that they believe that an emotional support animal could be beneficial and have the animal certified.

While a doctor cannot certify an animal, there are many online websites where a person can register his or her animal for free and even purchase emotional support animal IDs and vests.

For more information on certifying emotional support animals, click here:https://www.esaregistration.org/gclid=Cj0KCQiAy579BRCPARIsAB6QoIYbo23njmIKR4kaJ-qu80lI3GZlX3ZhhFQWIvQCsfSClqTpXoRRFkQaAgKMEALw_wcB

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