Benefits of an Emotional Support Animal in College

Alarming statistics on the mental health of college students has been an ongoing issue. Anxiety, depression, and suicide are much too familiar in the current world we live in, especially within the generation attempting to receive higher education. Too often, the signs and symptoms of these mental health issues are ignored and avoided. As college students and human beings, it is important to self reflect on how college has impacted our own personal mental health, and find ways to alleviate stress for our own health and well being. Mental health at the university level should be a much more important topic for universities, staff, and students alike. Studies also show that despite the high rates of depression and anxiety among college students, lack of treatment is an even larger issue. 

I am no stranger to anxiety and depression and consider mental health an area very close to my heart. Having witnessed the consequences of lack of treatment among family and friends alike, I know that prevention, education, and treatment of mental health is of utmost importance. Aside from medical treatment and therapy, I believe the biggest proponent in maintaining the status of my mental health is my very best friend and emotional support dog, Pua!

Pua is a one and a half and loves to play! She is an Olde English Bulldog from Hilo, Hawaii and her favorite things to do include playing fetch, running at the dog park, and cuddling with her favorite human. Pua is a registered emotional support dog, a huge help to her very busy college mom! Having Pua has given me support and comfort, but most of all love through some of my hardest and most stressful life moments.


Why should I receive an emotional support dog?

College is hard. Life is hard. Balancing college and life is hard. Emotional support animals make excellent emotional superheroes! Pua can be quite rambunctious, but certainly notices signs of discomfort, stress, and sadness from the humans around her. She gives hugs, licks faces, and will even bring you her favorite toys to cheer you up! 


How is an emotional support animal helpful?

Emotional support animals provide a sense of comfort in the home. College can be extremely isolating and lonely, especially for those who move out of state or even country to receive the education of their dreams! For me, having Pua in my apartment allows me to feel comfortable and supported in my own space, while also allowing me the room to practice independence. 


How do I go about getting an emotional support dog? 

Emotional support animals are to be prescribed to individuals by a mental health professional. Mental health professionals will assess their patients, and then distribute more information on the details of the process. As students, you can visit your on-campus health center, the counseling and mental health center, or even go to a professional outside of campus resources. 

My emotional support animal has only increased my quality of life, brought me more snuggles, and made me happier! Dogs, in particular, are an amazing asset to any home, and Pua has only made my transitioning to adulthood happier and healthier. I highly encourage getting an emotional support animal as a way of coping with stress from homework, exams, and life chores. Animals support mental health by providing a variety of benefits, benefits that college students can utilize in the sudden transition to adulthood that forces young adults to manage stress without any hints on how to do so!