There are BetterHelp alternatives out there that may be better for your condition and wallet.
One in five Americans struggles with a mental health condition. If you’re looking for an online therapist, you’re in good company. Online therapy platforms such as BetterHelp have seen a staggering surge in popularity since COVID-19 upended life as we know it.
According to the American Psychological Association, online therapy is just as effective as face-to-face options. Plus, it has a higher retention rate, so it’s pretty clear this therapy model is here to stay. BetterHelp is one of the best online therapy options, but it isn’t right for everyone. If BetterHelp doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, there are multiple BetterHelp alternatives that may be less expensive, or better suited for your needs.
BetterHelp is highly popular for several reasons. One driver of BetterHelp’s success is the number of therapists it has to offer. The site doesn’t, however, accept health insurance or offer a sliding scale. BetterHelp also uses an automated intake process that some people aren’t comfortable with. If you need prescribed medications to support your recovery, BetterHelp may not be a viable option for you.
No matter which platform you land on, there are several things to consider before you make your choice. According to California-based trauma psychologist Dr. Karol Darsa, online therapy is an appropriate option for people seeking mental health support, but it is not right for everyone. If you have or suspect that you have a complex psychological condition such as schizophrenia, you may be better served by seeing a therapist face to face. Online therapy is also not recommended for people in crisis, or for those who may harm themselves or others.
There are also important criteria to check before you choose an online therapist. “Because ‘therapist’ is not a legally protected word; anyone can claim they’re a therapist online. It’s important to determine if the therapist you’re considering is licensed to practice in your state. Otherwise, they’re not allowed to provide services. Another thing to take into consideration is whether the site is secure and your information remains confidential. Make sure the site is HIPAA-compliant and can verify both your and your therapist’s identity,” said Dr. Darsa.
BetterHelp Cheaper Alternatives
Online therapy platforms typically offer a menu of cost options that include texting, video, chat, or phone services. BetterHelp costs $60 – $90 weekly and is not reimbursable by insurance. Here are some BetterHelp alternatives:
If you have health insurance with a low mental health copay, you may pay less out of pocket if you use a therapy platform that accepts health insurance, such as Talkspace.
Like BetterHelp, Talkspace has thousands of online therapists available. Unlike BetterHelp, the services provided by Talkspace are covered by several health insurers, including Cigna and Humana.
Talkspace and BetterHelp both set up a secure, virtual therapy room for their clients to access after the intake process has been completed. An advantage to Talkspace that many users like is its use of milestone markers, which BetterHelp doesn’t provide. These markers help you map out what a typical therapy process looks like before you start.
7 Cups is an on-demand emotional health service and online therapy provider. It is one of BetterHelp’s cheaper alternatives. If you’re looking for someone to talk to because you’re feeling sad or, alone, or you just want to discuss something super private, this site may be a good fit for you. It has a few licensed therapists, and over 300,000 trained volunteer listeners.
Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t provide the same level of care through its one-on-one chat service. “When considering online therapy, it’s helpful to think about the level of connection that works best for you. Texts and short sessions can be effective for people who don’t need therapy but do need coaching, accountability, and tracking for behavior change,” said California-based therapist Monica Elden, LMFT.
7 Cups offers a free listener support forum, plus two paid-for options. These range from $12.95 to $150 monthly.
BetterHelp Alternatives for Prescription Medications
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, treatment for mental illness typically requires therapy, medication, or a combination of both modalities. However, BetterHelp does not employ medical doctors or psychiatrists who can legally prescribe medications. If you need medication to help you manage your condition, several BetterHelp alternatives offer this service.
Not every medication, including some controlled substances, can be prescribed for you online, even by licensed practitioners. However, restrictions on prescribing drugs for common mental health diagnoses were eased by the Drug Enforcement Agency, in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. If you take a specific medication for your condition, you can find out if it can be prescribed for you online prior to signing up for any online platform.
BetterHelp alternatives for prescriptions include the providers listed below.
Cerebral provides telehealth services that include medication management for many diagnoses, such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. It offers low-cost prescription medications, plus it accepts insurance.
Cerebral offers three treatment plans you can choose between:
· Therapy only
· Therapy with medication
· Counselling with medication
If you require a prescription, your medication will be delivered directly to you on a monthly basis and billed separately.
Amwell for Patients
Amwell’s online platform offers 24/7 access to therapists and board-certified doctors, including psychiatrists. When you sign up, you’ll be given a list of providers you can choose from. If you already have a therapist you’re working with, your Amwell psychiatrist will be able to coordinate your care collaboratively with them, in most instances.
If you are prescribed a medication, your prescription will be sent directly to the pharmacy of your choice.
Initial evaluations and 15-minute follow-up sessions are covered by some insurance plans.
BetterHelp is a well-respected, highly popular online therapy platform. However, it may not be the best fit for you. If you’re looking for BetterHelp’s cheaper alternatives or an online therapy platform that can help with prescriptions, there are BetterHelp alternatives you may prefer.