An emotional support dog helps individuals by providing comfort and support. Many fill a need by providing affection, companionship, emotional comfort, and support. They can have special training, but that is not strictly necessary.
Many confuse emotional support dogs with psychiatric service dogs, but it’s not the same thing. The emotional support dog does not require special training, but the psychiatric service dogs are trained to provide specific services. They for instance do room searches or turn on lights for a person with PTSD, provide counterbalance, block persons experiencing a dissociative episode from walking into danger, and so on.
Emotional support dogs provide their handlers with relief from isolation, daily structure, an increased sense of self-esteem and purpose, motivation, and many other important things.
These dogs are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but they are covered under the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act.