Service animals are a huge help to all sorts of people, and while they are more typically associated with those who have physical difficulties to overcome, they are increasingly recognized for their role in assisting individuals with psychiatric needs as well.
You might not realize that you are even eligible for a psychiatric service dog (PSD), yet the benefits of having a fully trained companion by your side can be significant.
So what criteria do you need to meet to qualify for a Certapet psychiatric service dog, and what are the advantages available to those who fall into this category?
Considering the conditions involved
A large number of mental health issues and disorders fall within the remit of PSDs, so if you have been diagnosed with one of the following issues, it may be worth looking into whether an assistance animal will be of use to you.
From post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder to depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, a cavalcade of conditions are covered by trained service dogs.
Other categories of mental health problems, such as autism and ADHD, are additionally considered as part and parcel of what a PSD can help with.
All of this comes down to the definitions included within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation outlines that mental disorders which have a marked negative impact on everyday life for the sufferers, and makes it difficult for them to complete normal tasks, are defined as disabilities.
Ideally, your physician or psychiatrist will be able to provide you with further advice about your specific diagnosis, and the range of benefits that you are eligible to take advantage of as a result, including being assigned a psychiatric service dog if necessary.
Understanding the benefits
The key reason that PSDs are used is to provide support for those with mental health conditions which in turn will enable them to go about their day-to-day activities without the impediments normally associated with the disorder from which they suffer.
Because of this, there are also perks and privileges available to PSD owners so that the animal is not a burden in certain scenarios. For example, the Air Carrier Access Act means that service dogs are legally allowed to fly free of charge, and must be accommodated as much as possible by airlines, within reasonable limits.
Likewise, PSDs will be allowed to enter buildings and other areas which are otherwise barred to standard, non-service pets.
It’s worth noting that service animals other than dogs do not have this same level of legal protection and support, but that there may be company policies that are supportive of different species. Checking this in advance of visiting a venue or traveling is wise for this reason.
Appreciating the training
As you’d expect, each PSD is trained according to the unique needs of the owner and the specific symptoms of their condition that need to be minimized.
For example, in the case of a PTSD sufferer, the role of a psychiatric service dog will involve acting as a source of reassurance by being on the lookout for any threats, and checking out spaces before the owner enters to give them the green light that all is well and no dangers are present.
More broadly speaking, animals can be trained to prompt people to take meds at the correct times, and provide a calming presence in situations that might otherwise be anxiety-inducing or triggering in some way.
So as you can see, there are lots of good reasons to get a PSD, and lots of people who will qualify for one because of the condition they have.