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The constant drumbeat of new realities emerging in the current pandemic crisis may trigger a range of reactions, affecting your emotions, behavior, and whether you feel physically well. It is important to be aware how this might be affecting you and know how to cope with the distress it might be causing.
Here’s your guide to handling this unprecedented crisis that has touched virtually every single American in some way.
It is normal to be worried about the threat this may present to your health and to the health of those around you. Here are some ways your anxiety may be showing up:
- You’ve become preoccupied with germs and symptoms of illness. Maybe you are taking your temperature frequently and having the urge to check in with a health provider.
- Symptoms such as a scratchy throat or a stuffed-up nose have you convinced you’ve contracted the disease, even though your temperature is normal.
- You can’t stop watching or reading anything but news about the coronanvirus. The compulsion is so strong, you are having difficulty sleeping or concentrating on other topics.
- Washing your hands to the point they are raw, excessive stocking of daily life supplies, obsessively pursuing the purchase of medical supplies and increased substance use are also signs that your anxiety may need some attention.
You may feel angry that you this virus outbreak is having a huge impact on your life, yet you had no control over it. As you read social media, or talk with loved ones, you may also feel angry at those who are having a different reaction to the pandemic.
A threat to your well-being that’s upended your life like the COVID-19 outbreak can be emotionally draining, leaving you feeling sad and exhausted. You may feel less motivated because everything seems futile, or you can’t concentrate. Activities you used to enjoy may seem pointless and you may find yourself feeling isolated because no one else can understand your pessimism and overall distress.
You may also encounter people who are trying to deny this pandemic is affecting their lives or maybe you yourself are downplaying the threat of this and trying to go through your daily routine as usual. Deniers may find others’ anxiety about the outbreak ridiculous and unnecessary. That may spawn feelings of isolation.
We Can Help
We can appreciate and understand the difficulty and challenges facing those impacted by COVID-19.
To help those in need, we're offering the following:
- Save $295 on Housing Pro 2020 Premium Edition
- Save $50 on Housing Pro 2020 Standard Edition
- Save $30 on Housing Pro Classic
- Save $30 on Travel Pro 2020
Pay attention to your reactions
Anxiety, anger, sadness or denial are all normal reactions to something that presents such uncertain, uncontrollable and potentially disastrous consequences as the outbreak of COVID-19 does. But being aware of your reactions is the first step in managing them. For example, when you see how your anxiety is keeping you from functioning them, you can consciously decide to take a break from that worry.
Remember what strategies worked for you before
COVID-19 is having an effect on our society that is unprecedented in the lifetime of most, but you’ve probably experienced anxiety, anger and depression before. How did you cope when it was hitting you then? Many people have found that writing about their struggle helps, or maybe some meditation. Do some digging into past instances when you’ve coped with uncertainty and fear and figure out what works for you.
It is easy to panic about some of the information about the virus that’s coming out in the news or on social media. Try to remember that some of these sources are not credible — inciting strong reactions is part of a business model for some of these sources, for example. It is important to think when you are digesting this information. Know which platforms are credible and have been fact-checked, such as your state’s health department, the World Health Organization website or the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. On social media or regular news outlets, be mindful of potential bias from the person/platform/source who shares the information. You can judge what information you take in and what information you prefer to leave out.
Limit the information
Too much information can overload the brain and lead to more stress. Websites, social media, airwaves and newspapers are saturated with news about the coronavirus. Try to limit your exposure to less than an hour each day to news and information about it. Think about scheduling a time to look at the news and limit it to avoid constant anxiety. Looking at it right before going to bed can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Pay attention to some positive news
Despite this difficult time, there is often some positive information in daily news. You can also evaluate whether your level of concern about this is consistent with the information from reliable sources. You can see the diagnosis rate and death rate at state health websites. Often, reliable news sources have stories about the strides being made toward a cure, and the cure rate.
Seek connections with others
Since the response to the coronavirus has left no life untouched, you have plenty of company in this experience, even if you may be isolated by yourself. Phone calls, social media and emails offer outlets to share your stress, worry and sadness with people you trust, who could be going through the same feelings. But even if your loved ones don’t feel the same way, spending time with them could be a distraction from the worry. The connections you have and new ones you can build with others will help get you through this difficult time.
Learn when to say “no”
Sharing can be helpful, but too much can also increase your anxiety. Recognize when connections cross the line from supportive to oppressive, or anxiety-producing. Learn to say “no” when your sharing starts to feel uncomfortable. You can set your boundaries respectfully or leave conversations without hurting someone’s feelings.
Maintain a healthy routine
It is important to maintain your regular schedule for sleep, meals, enjoyable activities, socializing, and working. If you are having a hard time setting up a structure for yourself, get in touch with a friend. You can both check in on each other and encourage healthy activities. Maybe you set up a time to call each other and report five things that you accomplished today, such as exercising to a video, finishing or starting a project or unloading the dishwasher.
Take a break and relax
Taking a walk, reading a book, calling a friend you haven’t heard from in a while: these are all activities that have nothing to do with the outbreak, could be fun and can take your mind off events related to the pandemic. It doesn’t mean you are trying to minimize what’s happening. Plan some relaxation or enjoyable activities each day, even if it’s as simple as deep breathing, pulling out some old mixed tapes to take a listen, or taking a shower that lasts a little longer.
Potential for Bias and Discrimination
The COVID-19 emergency has also triggered some feelings about certain countries. And you may experience misunderstanding or discrimination because of your ethnic identity or relationship to people who are from China or Asia.
—If you read false information or insulting/condescending articles from the media and you are feeling angry, helpless, or wronged due to your hometown or culture being slandered:
You can provide feedback and advocate through appropriate channels, such as writing emails to the media, reporting the article on social media, etc. Reach out to people you trust so you can advocate together against this kind of bias, or support each other.
—If you experience discrimination against your racial, national, or provincial identity:
Record the incident by writing it down or keeping a voice memo of the details. Consider reporting the incident or seeking support from professionals. State or city human rights commissions can give you direction on steps to take.
—If a friend, adviser, or someone you know says something insensitive or discriminatory:
It is normal to feel a full range of negative emotions when someone you know is the source of biased information or sentiment. Make sure you take care of your own emotional health when this happens and then consider the next steps to take. You could report it or talk to the person about how you feel about what they said.
It is also okay to not respond if you do not have the time, energy, or mental resources to take further action. Or, you could make a record of it for later action.
We Can Help
We can appreciate and understand the difficulty and challenges dealing with COVID-19.
To help those in need, we're offering the following:
Finding Your Way to a Legit ESA Letter
We’ve shopped around for emotional support animal letters that claim to get your assistance animal in the door of a rental, condo or HOA dwelling or onboard for travel. So we know all the ways online ESA vendors are taking people like you for a ride and exploiting your desire to have your furry or feathered friend by your side.
Some things to remember:
- Our service focuses on the mental health assessment and therapeutic care of an individual, not “certifying a dog.” Any services that claim to register a dog as an ESA is counterfeit. Federal and state rules for ESAs have to do with the animal owner’s mental health care needs, not the animal’s training or skills.
- To stem the booming cottage industry of faked emotional support animal letters, federal and state ESA laws have dramatically tightened, making it more time-consuming and costlier for a consumer to acquire the documents that stand up to legal challenges.
- Since ESA letters now require actual mental health care and consultation, there is no such things as a $22 letter that legitimately exempts your assistance animal from pet fees or rules prohibiting animals in housing or travel accommodations. They just don’t exist.
When you get the documents that will get your assistance animal in the door, or onboard, you’re not buying just a letter. As the law requires, you’re engaging with a licensed clinician who will clinically assess your condition. And if that professional believes you’d benefit from having an assistance animal to help reduce the symptoms of your disability, then the clinician will issue the proper documents.
We’re not cheap but following the letter of the law in a way that stands up to legal challenges rarely is. We have over 1,000 clinicians across the globe, we’re fully HIPAA-compliant, our highly trained experts are available live to answer your questions, so, in the end, you will truly get what you pay for; one way or the other.
We do it right.
Fair Housing for an emotional support dog in 2020.
Emboldened by changes in the law, landlords, condo associations and HOAs are now applying more stringent standards (sometimes going overboard) when approving a resident’s request for an emotional support animal.
Recently, HUD updated their rules (FHEO2020) so that people could no longer transform their pet into an assistance animal with the click of a “submit” button on an online form. Now licensed mental health providers to have “personal client knowledge” and an “ongoing treating relationship” to write an ESA letter that stands up to challenges. To comply, our Housing Pro 2020 product provides multiple clinical sessions between client and an in-state licensed provider.
Seven Mistakes To Avoid When Buying An Emotional Support Animal Letter
Getting what you need to document how your assistance animal is a reasonable accommodation for your disability can evoke so many feelings. You are excited that at last your needs will be legally protected. Yet, the challenges you may face in this journey may fill you with trepidation.
The rampant fakes online that even seasoned buyers fall for certainly magnifies what you are feeling. There’s so much to consider.
We’ve have compiled a list of common mistakes in getting an ESA letter, and the best ways to prevent the pitfalls in this journey. Be sure to avoid:
MISTAKE 1: Choosing the cheapest route to getting an emotional support animal letter
Why spend any money on a letter that doesn’t meet the basic requirements of the law? You are opening yourself up to having your legitimate need challenged and denied. That’s never a good way to start off when you’re moving to a new place or making a point.
By definition, getting an ESA letter that meets the letter of the law involves getting seen and evaluated by a licensed mental health professional. There’s no way that happens for $22, even if those dirt-cheap letters you find online promise that.
MISTAKE 2: Not knowing the online vendor’s physical location
You need to weed out those companies that are operating out of a Post Office box in a UPS store. You do that by looking carefully at the company’s website. Is an address listed? Be sure to Google that address to see if the company is in an actual building.
- Google mapping the location.
- Looking for a corporate identity.
- Looking for an actual named person on the company website.
MISTAKE 3: Not connecting offline
Make sure you can speak with someone. When (and if) you get them on the phone make sure you find out where the company’s clinicians are located (they must be based and licensed in your state). Also, ask them for the company’s physical address.
- If there was a clearly labeled “contact us” part of the website.
- Whether someone answered the phone, or returned your message.
- Was the call center U.S.-based?
MISTAKE 4: Forgetting to check on security and privacy.
You’ve already gotten those calls asking if that’s really you in Paris buying that $94,000 Hermes Vintage crocodile Birkin and definitely don’t want to do that again. Having your credit cards compromised is always a hassle and that’s why we’ve taken the steps to make sure it won’t happen as a result of your transaction with us. Our service, vetted and certified with Norton Secured, meets the highest standards for protecting consumer information.
Unfortunately, most all other ESA vendors will try to make you think they’ve done this by illegally cutting and pasting the McAfee Trusted logo onto their website.
It’s easy to verify the truth, however, simply by clicking on the logo. If it’s legitimate, it takes you to the McAfee site where the vendor’s information is displayed.
- Whether third-party security logos like Norton and McAfee are clickable.
- For California residents, does the vendor have a California Privacy Rights policy?
- What answer you get when you Google "who is" along with the domain name. Does the location and name match up?
- If the domain privacy protected.
MISTAKE 5: Accepting any therapist
When you sign up with us, you get licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC).
Whoever evaluates your disability and needs must practice in the state you live in.
- Where the mental health professional practices.
- How far the therapist is from where you live.
- If the vendor offers more than just an evaluation of your disability for the ESA letter.
- What comes up when you Google the name of your therapist.
MISTAKE 6: Assuming your sensitive medical information is safe
We built a state-of-the-art platform for our operation with one thing in mind: protecting your privacy and safeguarding the information you provide as if it were our own. We are in complete compliance with HIPAA, the law that governs patient information.
- Whether they have a published HIPAA compliance statement.
- Inquiring about policies in the event of a data breach.
- If there are physical security safeguards in place.
- Who has access to which parts of your information.
MISTAKE 7: Believing online reviews
Those reviews you see posted on sites like TrustPilot and SiteJabber are not always what they seem. The truth is, anyone can post a 5-star review with no validation or verification that he or she is actually a customer.
The incentives to post fake reviews compound with every comment. For each additional post, ESA vendors can multiply visits, traffic, sales, which means adds up to more money for them.
Here are some hints that the reviews you’re reading are not the genuine article:
- Sudden cascade of reviews that show up in a short amount of time.
- Overuse of “I” and “me” and a lot of verbs.
- The same phrase repeated over and over.
- Reviewers with generic names, such as “Susan Jones,” and/or photo-less profiles.
- Few middle-of-the-road reviews.
ESA Letters: Buyer’s Checklist
Here’s everything you need to know about how to secure a legitimate emotional support animal letter:
- How this works: Our therapists will take you through three easy steps, to assess your need for an assistance animal.
- Who we are: Learn more about our organization, ethics, and ethos.
- Legitimate versus fake letters: Learn insider tips and tricks to avoid getting scammed.
- Reviews: Check out our amazing authentic reviews.
- ESAD Shopping Guarantee: Your complete satisfaction is our top priority.
We offer a short test to help determine if you might qualify for an emotional support animal. The instructional test lists a few of the major life activities that qualifies as a disability and a disability-related need and for each, asks three questions:
- Intensity: how significant is this issue
- Happens: how often does it occur
- Mitigation: how well does your animal help lessen the symptoms
How This Works
There are three steps to being issued an emotional support animal letter of recommendation by a licensed provider:
Step 1: Place Order
We make use of best-in-class security tools and practices to maintain the highest level of security.
Step 2: Take Exam
Our streamlined process is your speedpass to a perfect emotional support animal letters.
Step 3: Get Engaged
We connect clients with a licensed provider in your state or province.
Our credibility matters down the line.
We’ve been helping clients for a long time and maybe we could get away with selling bogus products maybe once, maybe twice.
But it would catch up to us, and the Internet never forgets.
Our credibility as a reputable provider of emotional support animal services is based upon our client’s trust.
And that’s crucial to our success.
ESAD Intl. is a global healthcare technology company with a mission to provide bespoke emotional support animal training, education, and wellness. Every day through our online platform, we connect clients with therapists who provide emotional support animal letters of recommendation and offer COVID-related mental health therapy.
We offer access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited medical doctors, Doctor of Nursing Practice, psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC).
Shop with confidence.
Get 90-days of Identity Protection for up to $100,000 with every purchase.
ESAD Intl. Shopping Guarantee™
With the ESAD Intl. Shopping Guarantee, you know you’ve made the right choice about where to shop. Your complete satisfaction is our top priority; which includes our lowest price guarantee. All completely free.
Our media coverage.
From Fox News to MTV to the Huffington Post, we're always in the news.
- [AUDIO] Interview with Chaz Stevens, CEO of ESAD Intl.
- Healthline: To Crack Down on Fake Emotional Support Animals, Experts Issue New Recommendations.
- Travel Weekly: Interview with Chaz Stevens, Founder With newly introduced bill, Michigan aims to crack down on fake support animals
Active in the industry.
- Member, American Mental Health Counselors Association (54568015)
- Member, American Counseling Association (6513039)
- Member, National Association of Social Workers (886784059)
980 N. Federal Highway, #110
Boca Raton, FL USA 33432-2704
Chaz Stevens is an entrepreneur, former journalist, and well-known activist who has appeared on the front pages of Time, Miami Herald, Guardian, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He’s also appeared on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Fox News.
Chaz lives in South Florida with his two rescue dogs. Before launching ESAD International, he could be found working on IT for IBM, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney World Company. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — helping people get to a better place.