Do I Qualify for a Psychiatric Assistance Dog?

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“Do I qualify for an assistance dog?”- This is a question that many people who are dealing with a physical and/or mental issue ask. Actually, when it comes to a physical illness, it is easier to recognize that a person needs assistance and that an assistance dog can be helpful.

When it comes to mental illnesses, though, it is a different case... Why is that? The reasons can vary, but we will list some of the most common ones:
-We all may occasionally feel under the weather, so it could be difficult to recognize a mental issue;
-We are afraid of what others may think of us;
-People may be suspicious of assistance dogs whose assistance may not be as obvious as it is for individuals with physical impairments;
-Interaction with the public can be challenging for a person with a mental disability…

We would say that the term “mental disability” is still causing controversy among people, which makes the process of recognizing the issue and accepting it more difficult.

Assistance animals not only provide essential medical aid for many individuals but also offer love and support, which makes them invaluable!

What Are Psychiatric Assistance Dogs?

Psychiatric Assistance Dogs are dogs who have been individually trained to do specific work that alleviates the symptoms of a mental disability. These tasks must be directly related to a disability. The type of mental disability, whose symptoms PADs can mitigate, may include:

Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Panic Attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc.

Psychiatric Assistance Dogs, as well as assistance animals in general, can be dogs only. Other domesticated species do not qualify for assistance dog work.

What Requirements Do You Have to Meet to be Eligible for a Psychiatric Assistance Dog (PAD)?

According to the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you “have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”.

Considering the text above, an individual must have a medical letter, verifying their need of an assistance animal. This medical letter should not reveal personal details about the nature of the disability. However, it must be issued by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and must also include a recommendation for an assistance dog.

A person must have reached the minimum age, that is legally required, to become an assistance dog handler.

A person must be able to take care of the dog. In case an individual dealing with a mental illness, will be the assistance dog user only (the person who will benefit from the dog), there must be another person who must take the role of a handler or provider for the animal.

If you are interested to find out whether you qualify for a Psychiatric Assistance Dog or not, you can take the quiz below:



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