Why is there a need to raise awareness?
The UK is light years behind the USA in terms of recognising and acknowledging the importance of assistance dogs and emotional support dogs for people suffering psychological conditions like depression, both legally and clinically. In the UK there continues to be no way to register a psychological assistance dog in the same way that assistance dogs are registered for other disabilities illnesses and medical conditions and that’s utterly wrong.
Dogs for Depression has also received distressed enquiries relating to equality and discrimination issues, for example problems gaining permission to keep emotional support animals in rented housing. In one case the facts provided on Dogs for Depression’s website enabled a sufferer to overturn a no-pets clause and keep their emotional support dog. From these issues it is clear that psychological assistance dogs are simply not being accepted in the way that other assistance dogs such as hearing dogs and guide dogs are.
Dogs for Depression hopes that over time public and clinical awareness of the medical benefits of psychological support and assistance dogs in treating depression will grow. It will continue to work towards changing people’s perceptions to enable more people to gain the psychological benefits of emotional support dogs in recovering from depression.