USSDR Blog Banner

Colleges Are Seeing More Student's with Emotional Support Animals in Housing

Colleges Are Seeing More Student's with Emotional Support Animals in Housing

admin 1 January 22, 2019
blog title

Emotional-support animals, or ESAs, are on the rise with people that are suffering from owned by mental health disorders and deemed necessary by medical professionals. ESA’s typically have not had special training and are more often than not dogs and cat.  ESA’s have gained popularity in 2015 when they prompted a federal guideline for housing providers, but they seemed to go viral last year following news stories about someone trying to take a dog or a peacock or a goat onto an airplane — sometimes with success.

Ever since, ESAs have become the target of ridicule: Popeyes released an “emotional support chicken” carrier available only in airports.   But despite the cries of “they’re just trying to bring their pet everywhere for free,” people — particularly those of the younger variety — are still turning to emotional support animal letters as a means of treating depression and anxiety.

Besides perhaps airports, nowhere is the trend more apparent than on college campuses, some of which have seen residence halls turn into Animal Houses as more students file ESA letter paperwork to keep an emotional-support cat, dog or hamster in their dorm room. The ESA trend took hold over the last several years while rates of anxiety and depression among college students have soared in the last decade.

Sometimes Livi Tempesta feels like she doesn’t have any emotions. That comes with the territory when you’re coping with clinical depression.

The 19-year-old sophomore at Temple University last year tried a new type of treatment: a cat. Skittles, her 8-year-old tabby and her first emotional-support animal, lived on campus with her in Johnson Hall her freshman year, forcing her into a routine and snuggling up with her when she was affected.

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.”

In the 2017-18 school year at Temple, six students requested permission to keep such animals on campus. This school year? Twenty.

Most local colleges and universities with on-campus housing have policies related to both service animals and ESAs, which are different. The Americans for Disabilities Act describes a service animal as one that is trained to perform a task its owner can’t. For example, a trained service dog may lead a blind person while they walk or protect the head of a person with epilepsy when he or she has a seizure.

ESAs, also sometimes called “assistance animals,” usually aren’t trained as such and serve the purpose of comforting their owner, making them indistinguishable from a regular pet to an outside observer. At most schools, students must show that the animal was designated necessary by a medical provider and have emotional support animal certification.

In 2016, St. Joseph’s University implemented an emotional-support animal policy, stating students must notify the school’s Office of Student Disability Services of their need and accept responsibility for the animal’s actions, said Christine Mecke, director of Student Disability Services at St. Joe’s. Likewise, Drexel put in place a policy including emotional-support animals in 2015, while Villanova’s emotional-support animal policy went into effect last summer.

Depression, loneliness and anxiety, they’re on the rise on college campuses, and even if you don’t have one of those diagnosed illnesses, transitioning can be hard.  People who are soothed by touch and tapping into a sensory experience. Dogs could be a good thing.

Benjamin Daniels, clinical director at Equilibria and a psychologist based in Center City, said ESAs may help reduce anxiety for some people, but there’s a risk the animal serves as a “safety signal,” meaning the person believes they’re safe only because the animal is around.

Emotional-support dogs that need to be taken outside regularly can also provide a reason to get up, which can be especially effective for owners with clinical depression, according to a junior at Eastern University in St. Davids, Delaware County, who’s had a dog for several years that helps her cope with depression and anxiety. The woman, who is studying social work, didn’t want to be named because she didn’t want future employers and clients to judge her use of an emotional-support dog if they found her in a Google search.

Plenty of research has showed therapy dogs can relieve stress for people they interact with. But Molly Crossman, a researcher at Yale who focuses on human-animal interaction, said that research has been limited to short-term interactions and there have been few studies that conclude if, how or why ESAs work.

If they do, there’s not likely to be just one “active ingredient.” Some people respond to the soft, soothing touch. Others feel like the animal is a presence that won’t judge them.

“It’s a number of different things,” she said, “just like friends aren’t helpful just for one thing.”

One Reply to “Colleges Are Seeing More Student's with Emotional Support Animals in Housing”

  1. College can actually be tough time for many. So, having a companion can be highly beneficial. Although, still, some people think ESAs are no help. But, having a pet as an emotional support animal has medical benefits and this has been approved by many mental health professionals as well. Also, as per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 along with the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), any housing provider cannot deny you an accommodation because of your pet, and as per the latest guidelines issued by HUD, it includes college dorms as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Preloader
X
SERVICE DOG ID CARD USA Service Animal Registration Your Service Dog ID card will include our convenient QR Code for a quick scan link to our registry lookup. By simply entering your dog\'s registration number your official registered profile will be accessible for quick verification in the event the validity of your service dog is ever questioned. 2054
$29.99
Product Image
5 12230
Awesome - very helpful & arrived quickly - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Awesome - very helpful & arrived quickly
- by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Service Excellence - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Outstanding website, easy to move from screen to screen. Provided me with the opportunity to see exactly what Liam needs as a service dog.
Did not receive my letter - by , March 25, 2011
1/ 1stars
Did not receive it what do ever. Don’t know if it include letter for both housing and traveling. Waiting for a long time for consultation.
Emotional Support Registration - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Quick and easy. Will definitely let those folks who need to, contact your service! Thank you for the no stress experience. This means so much to me.
- by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
It was, great, it always been
Love this site - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Great, easy to learn the specifics, and to purchase.
- by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I’m so happy I was able to find a program that met everything I was looking for!!
Psychiatric Service Dog Travel Letter - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The overall experience was remarkably easy I simply followed the steps presented, it went from step to step, and my computer skills are challenged, and yet I finished within minutes.
Psychiatric Service Dog Travel Letter - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The overall experience was remarkably easy I simply followed the steps presented, it went from step to step, and my computer skills are challenged, and yet I finished within minutes.
Awesome - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The best...its first time when I make this...
Thank You - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I have put off doing this because I thought it would be time consuming. I was wrong. It was easy and timely.
Registration - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very user friendly site
Thanks - by , March 25, 2011
4/ 4stars
I was needed to do it 3 times. It didn’t work in the beginning, everything else was fine and OK. Thank you.
No letter - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Haven't received my letter
Awesome - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Your product will have added an excellent lifetime change for me by allowing me to bring my dog with me everywhere. Thank you
Excellent Service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very user friendly and prompt service. Highly recommend
Too small - by , March 25, 2011
3/ 3stars
My dog's weight falls in the range for M vest but it was ended up to be too small
Service dog registration - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Great service and website, perfect for the dog I have been training for my stroke. Highly recommend them and there products thanks for your help.
Satisfied - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I am very happy with my experience I am not capable of doing internet due to my medical condition, the girl who helped me was very caring and willing to help. I would highly recommend them because they are here to help the disabled. Thank you