Even the helpers need help sometimes. Finding a space for the healers to heal is an important part of the staff development offered at many local pediatric hospitals. After long days spent throughout the hospital helping both patients and parents deal with various tests, procedures and surgeries, it should come as no surprise that the child life specialists need some of their own care. For this reason, it is not uncommon to see an emotional support animal (ESA) at staff meetings, seminars, and retreats. Finding a way to care for those who are typically offering support can be a challenge, but ESAs are one valuable approach. A dog that literally works the room in a space filled with people who are typically caregivers themselves provides comfort, relaxation, and stress relief.
From former military members who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder to young children with anxiety to college students preparing for semester finals, ESAs play important roles. The release of serotonin that the majority of people feel when they are petting a service animal can physically change a person. As more and more people benefit from the service of ESAs there is a growing need for more animals. Not surprising, there are now many rescue animals as ESAs in service. Whether it is a therapy cat for depression or rescue animals as ESAs, many animals have always known who needs them most when they enter a room.
Finding a way to be both successful and healthy is not a given for many people. In fact, post-traumatic stress disorder
affects 7.7 million U.S. adults, which represents 3.5% of the population. In addition, nearly 26% of American adults live with a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Finding a coping mechanism for many of these people is a challenge, but with the help of service animals for depression and other conditions a growing number of people are able to be more successful.
Although they are not allowed all of the same accesses that service animals are provided, legitimate emotional support animal registrations can provide comfort to people in a number of settings. Qualifying for an ESA letter does require some specific steps, but it is worth the effort since as many as 74% of those surveyed reported mental health improvements from keeping animals as companions. If you or someone you know could benefit from a support animal, it is important to start the process as soon as possible.