Emotional Support Animals (ESA's)

Student Health & Counseling

Policy on Recommendations regarding Emotional Support Animals


Diagnosis of a psychological disability resulting in a prescription for an emotional support animal is a complex process that requires several sessions in order to understand the presence, intensity, and duration of various symptoms, degree of impairment in several areas of life functioning, and an evaluation of how an emotional support animal (ESA) would help mitigate symptoms and improve functioning.  Because Student Health and Counseling providers have a very high demand for our services, and must be available to meet the mental health needs of our whole student body, our primary focus at Health and Counseling is to provide ongoing treatment and acute/crisis services.  We do not have the resources to provide psychological work-ups for the purposes of disability documentation and ESA prescriptions.  For these reasons, Health and Counseling services will not issue letters of support for ESA’s.

Students that are interested in obtaining documentation of a disability with a prescription for an ESA accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, should seek this documentation from a prior medical or mental health provider or by starting a disability assessment process through local community resources.  Documentation can come from a licensed medical or mental health professional, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, etc.  A listing of local licensed mental health providers can be found at www.ncamhp.org.   

Please note, SHC discourages use of online resources that promise ESA support letters for a fee.  These sources are usually fraudulent and the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) has communicated that they will not accept letters obtained in this fashion.