You have most likely heard and seen service dogs hard at work helping their owners who have disabilities. You have also probably heard of or may have an emotional support animal who provides comfort to their owners. You may be less familiar with psychiatric service dogs and what the reasons for having one maybe. Read on to learn what tasks they perform, and if you or someone you know would qualify for one.
What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?
A psychiatric service dog is an assistance animal that is trained to perform specific tasks in relation to their owners mental health issue or mental disability. They are very similar to service dogs, except specifically for mental health conditions. They are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), meaning they are considered necessary medical equipment and can accompany their owners almost anywhere, including in public spaces and airports.
For What Reasons Might You Have a Psychiatric Service Dog?
A psychiatric service dog can help individuals with PTSD, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar, autism, and more mental health conditions or disabilities. They are trained to perform specific tasks to help the individual depending on what their needs are.
What Tasks Do Psychiatric Service Dogs Perform?
Psychiatric service dogs can be trained to perform a wide variety of tasks to help their owner function and feel better on a daily basis. These can include:
Standing on them during panic attacks
Interrupting self-harming behaviors
Waking them up from nightmares
Standing in front of them to protect them in busy stressful environments
Reminding them to take their medication on time
Helping bring them back to the present during flashbacks
How Do You Qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog?
In order to have one of these assistance animals, you will need a psychiatric service dog letter of certification. You can get one of these from a certified medical or mental health professional. This professional must diagnose you with a qualifying mental health condition, and the service dog must be trained to perform a specific task in relation to your mental health condition in order for it to qualify. You can get a letter from our experts at United Support Animal today. Take our pre-screening test now or call us at 800-918-3151 or check our United Animal Support shop.