Talkspace, BetterHelp, Cerebral, and others can connect you to a licensed therapist shortly after you set up your account, sometimes within hours. Unlike a traditional client-therapist relationship, you can usually text your provider at any time of the day. Weekly and monthly plans are also much cheaper than traditional therapy sessions. Prices on Talkspace vary depending on your location, therapist availability, and the frequency of your billing plan, with discounts available for quarterly or biannual subscriptions.
Talkspace also offers therapy for couples and adolescents and a psychiatry program for medication management. Psychiatry program providers can prescribe medications, but cannot prescribe controlled substances such as Adderall and Xanax. The app also partners with employers and universities across the country and accepts certain insurance. If you're looking for affordable therapy outside of these apps, there are other options.
If you have health insurance, you may be covered for visits with a therapist. Check with your health insurance provider to find out if mental health care is covered under your plan. Many therapists also offer sliding scale payment options, regardless of insurance. Community mental health centers in your area are also worth exploring.
Online therapy is very practical, affordable and accessible, no matter where you live, if you have access to public transportation, or if you work odd hours. Virtual therapy providers offer a platform that allows you to work online with a licensed mental health professional. With online therapy options, you no longer have to travel to a physical office to prioritize your mental health. BetterHelp is a mainstay in online therapy because of its reasonable prices and huge network of providers.
Some online therapy companies, such as Talkspace, have worked with health insurance companies to become part of the network of several health plans. This means it's up to you to check and see if your health insurance plan will cover online therapy, even at out-of-network companies. The online therapy experience may include video calls, audio calls, chat rooms, text conversations, in-app communication, or a combination of all of the above. Online therapy isn't for everyone, but the convenience, potential cost savings, and added perks make it win over in-person sessions for quite a few people.
The average cost of a therapy appointment may depend on the type of therapy you receive (family vs. couples or community mental health clinics) and whether your insurance coverage from your insurance company covers mental health and therapist visits. Online therapy providers are not designed to help in a mental health emergency, such as when someone is a threat to themselves or others. For some, it's worth spending a little extra on a real-time therapy session, and if you're looking to build a long-term relationship with your therapist, you might want to go with a different online provider.
Some online therapy companies also have relationships with employers, meaning they offer discounts or accept employee assistance plans (EAP). Sesame is one of the best online therapy platforms if you want to talk to a therapist on demand, don't have insurance and need a prescription. Every online platform is different, but many include video, phone, or text therapy sessions, along with a virtual room where you can message your counselor between visits. Most online therapy platforms offer detailed questionnaires about your background, demographics, and the issues you want help with.