An ESA, or emotional support animal, is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual suffering from a psychiatric disability.
Millions of Americans already rely on an ESA as a means of coping with the debilitating effects of mental illness and likewise, many college students are now opting out of pharmaceutical treatments in favor of four-legged therapy.
The fact of the matter is that an ESA can empower someone with a psychological disability to enjoy the same quality of life as others, and that should be the end of the issue, shouldn’t it?…
But sadly, it is not.
The New York Times recently published an article looking, with skepticism, at the prevalence of colleges in the United States allowing students with mental health issues to have their ESAs live with them on campus.
It caused quite a furor among readers of the Times, with comments ranging from the disapproving, to outright scathing attacks on students with mental health problems:
“Our nation is raising a generation of over-coddled weaklings who are going to get eaten in the real world.” – Seanathan, NY
In fact, the overall frothing at the mouth witnessed in the comments section led writer Jan Hoffman to publish a follow-up, ‘Emotional Support Animals: Readers Tough on Those in Need’.
Tough indeed, but do that many people really feel that disability-shaming these students was acceptable, or were they just trolling?
Do they even have a clue what they were talking about?