My role now is still to be there for my daughter, just as I am for her sisters. But ‘being there’ has changed over the years. No longer does it mean helicoptering or hovering. No longer does it mean vigilant, 24/7 monitoring of medication compliance or safety checks. No longer does it mean advocating for treatments and school accommodations. Today, ‘being there’ means giving space while giving love.
A psychiatric service dog is trained to specifically meet the needs of the handler by such things as: identifying what’s real; creating a personal space barrier; calming anxiety; blocking an impulsive, panic driven movement of darting into oncoming traffic; guiding back to safety. There are several wonderful, dedicated organizations that provide the training, resources and funding to connect service dogs with those in need.
In both of these situations a huge double standard exists. Private and public insurance companies consider it cost effective to treat psychiatric illnesses utilizing clinicians with limited knowledge and training. And they are NOT willing to provide comparable access to care provided by those who have a deeper knowledge, specialized training and skill sets. To me that is analogous to saying that broken bones should be treated by a family practitioner rather than an orthopedic surgeon.