In recent years, the demand for online psychiatry services has been on the rise. With the ongoing pandemic, many people have been seeking online mental health services as a convenient and safe way to receive treatment. As a result, there has been a surge in the number of online psychiatry services available, making it overwhelming for those seeking the right platform.
To help you navigate through the crowded market, African Verdict has compiled a list of the top 9 online psychiatry services for 2023. Our picks are based on extensive research, taking into account factors such as user reviews, accessibility, affordability, and the quality of services provided.
In this article, we’ll take you through each of the top 9 online psychiatry services, highlighting their features and benefits, so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Whether you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue, these online psychiatry services provide a safe, convenient, and effective way to receive treatment from licensed professionals. So, let’s dive in and explore the top online psychiatry services for 2023.
What is online psychiatry?
Under the umbrella of telehealth and telemedicine services, online therapy and psychiatry offer a convenient alternative to traditional in-person therapy. With online mental health services, you no longer have to travel to your clinician’s office to receive treatment. Instead, you can communicate with licensed professionals remotely from the comfort of your own home.
When you see an online psychiatrist, they will typically review your mental health and medication history, discuss medication-based treatment options, and may provide a diagnosis if needed. This approach can be particularly beneficial for those who live in remote areas or have mobility issues, as it allows them to access mental health services that may not have been possible otherwise. Plus, the flexibility of online therapy and psychiatry can make it easier to fit treatment into a busy schedule.
Overall, online therapy and psychiatry offer a convenient and effective way to receive mental health treatment. By removing barriers to accessing care, these services help ensure that everyone has access to the mental health support they need to lead fulfilling lives.
Psychiatry vs. therapy
Online therapy and online psychiatry differ in the same ways as face-to-face therapy and psychiatry. A licensed therapist can provide mental health counseling services, but they can’t prescribe medications. However, a psychiatrist can combine various forms of therapy with prescriptions.
- Why we chose it: Talkspace was included on this list for its ease of use and flexibility offered by the service.
- Insurance coverage: covered by a wide variety of networks
Being able to schedule and attend your psychiatric visits from your smartphone is one of the appeals of online therapy apps like Talkspace. Everything can be done at home from your fingertips — from the easy signup process to communicating via live video chat.
After filling out a brief assessment, Talkspace will match you with a licensed psychiatrist who can diagnose mental illnesses, prescribe medications, and conduct therapy sessions as needed. Talkspace psychiatrists can help with an array of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and more. You can also switch doctors at any time if you feel the match isn’t quite right.
How much does Talkspace cost?
Initial evaluations cost $199, and follow-up visits cost $125 each, but pricing can vary depending on the frequency of service.
Best for medication delivery
- Why we chose it: We selected this service for its ease of use for depression and anxiety, two very common reasons people seek psychiatric care.
- Insurance coverage: accepted by Cigna and Evernorth
Well-known telehealth platform BetterHelp partnered with Brightside to deliver prescription medications to patients who need them. This is great for people with anxiety and depression, though people with other mental health conditions can seek treatment with Brightside.
Members get unlimited messaging to professionals who specialize in anxiety and depression treatment. Treatment plans include monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist and regular communication with your psychiatrist.
How much does Brightside cost?
Brightside offers three plans: Medication, Therapy, and Medication & Therapy.
- Medication & Therapy: $349 a month plus $15 per prescription
- Medication: $95 a month plus $15 per prescription
- Therapy: $299 a month
Best for a female-centric approach
- Why we chose it: This platform offers access to a variety of psychiatry services and medications, starting with a consultation to see which healthcare professional and prescription(s) are right for you.
- Insurance coverage: not accepted
Hers works with psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals to create personalized mental healthcare plans, including for depression and anxiety.
The Hers process works like this:
- You create a profile on their secure platform and provide information about your health, lifestyle, symptoms, and medical history via an intake form.
- You’ll be matched with a psychiatrist based on your answers to the form.
- You’ll connect with a psychiatrist in your state who will begin your diagnosis and discuss possible treatment options.
Communication happens through Hers’ online platform. Once you receive a diagnosis and prescription for medication, it will be shipped directly to you.
How much does Hers cost?
Psychiatry medications start at $85 per month with free shipping, and visits with healthcare professionals are $39.
Best for flexible scheduling
- Why we chose it: Although you might still have to wait for an appointment, and there are still some restrictions on the type of care provided and prescriptions that can be written, MDLIVE offers some of the best flexibility in terms of appointments.
- Insurance coverage: some networks accepted
One of the pain points of scheduling doctor’s appointments is sticking to conventional business hours. MDLIVE’s online psychiatry services may appeal to those with tight schedules since they offer appointments during the evenings and weekends. Doctors are on call 24/7 for around-the-clock mental health care.
Online appointments can take place over the phone or via video chat. If you don’t want to wait weeks for a psychiatric appointment, you can usually schedule an appointment through MDLIVE within days. Though your psychiatrist may live in a different city than you do, they can send prescriptions to your local pharmacy for pickup.
How much does MDLIVE cost?
Depending on your insurance, psychiatric care can cost up to $284 per initial visit and $108 per follow-up appointment.
Best for collaborative care
- Why we chose it: We chose to add Amwell to this list because of its scope of care and the opportunities the platform offers for collaboration with other healthcare providers.
- Insurance coverage: some networks accepted
Amwell isn’t just an online therapy and psychiatry service. They also cover other types of medicine, with board-certified doctors available for direct-to-patient communication. If you’ve ever wished you could speak with your care team from the comfort of your own home, Amwell is one solution.
The behavioral health services with Amwell include a network of more than 100 board-certified psychiatrists who specialize in medication evaluations and ongoing medication management. Amwell psychiatrists can address mental health conditions such as eating disorders, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, cognitive disorders, depression, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While some online psychiatry services only offer mental health care, Amwell offers collaborative care so your psychiatrist and primary care doctor can communicate.
How much does Amwell cost?
An initial consultation with a psychiatrist costs $279. Follow-up appointments last about 15 minutes and cost $109 each.
Best for choosing your own psychiatrist
Doctor on Demand
- Why we chose it: This service allows you to view the qualifications and specialty areas of different mental health professionals and choose the right fit for you.
- Insurance coverage: Some networks are accepted. You can see if your health plan is supported during registration.
If you want to bypass being matched with a psychiatrist and choose your own, consider Doctor on Demand. The service’s total virtual care includes 24/7 access to doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other medical experts. This can offer you peace of mind that care is always available and easily accessible from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Though care is virtual, it’s still personal. Visits occur over a secure video connection. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone, including your primary care physician unless explicitly requested.
See a full review of Doctor on Demand services here.
How much does Doctor on Demand cost?
Appointments are $299 for an initial 25-minute consultation and $129 for 15-minute follow-up appointments.
Best for à la carte appointments
- Why we chose it: Unlike many telehealth platforms, LiveHealth allows you to choose health services one at a time rather than requiring you to sign on to a plan or subscription.
- Insurance coverage: accepted by some networks
People who need help with medication management may need to see a psychiatrist regularly. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist and would like an initial evaluation, LiveHealth Online is a good option, since the platform allows à la carte appointments without requiring an ongoing subscription.
If you’re worried about the quality of online mental health services, telemedicine is a specialty of LiveHealth Online. All doctors are specifically trained to perform health visits online, so patients don’t miss out on the face-to-face experience of in-person appointments.
How much does LiveHealth Online cost?
Before insurance, initial evaluations cost $175, and follow-up appointments are available for $75 per visit.
- Why we chose it: The ability to choose a local provider you can see either online or in person earned Teladoc a spot on this list.
- Insurance coverage: accepts a wide variety of plans
Communicating through phone, video, or text may make it seem like your psychiatrist is on the other side of the planet. Through Teladoc appointments, your psychiatrist is closer than you think. Teladoc gives you the option of selecting a professional local to your area.
According to Teladoc, the service offers access to the top 5% of specialists worldwide and a 90% satisfaction rate. Their quality care professionals can review your mental health history and treatment plan to customize care to your needs.
Teladoc psychiatrists can prescribe medications, except for controlled substances or medications for treating bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. This is because prescriptions for these drugs require in-person care and ongoing monitoring.
However, people with these conditions can still use the service for guidance or other medications. Teladoc psychiatrists can offer prescriptions for antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medications, and some antipsychotics.
How much does Teladoc cost?
Depending on your insurance, psychiatric visits cost up to $299 for the first visit and up to $119 for a follow-up visit.
Best affordable psychiatry
Rethink My Therapy
- Why we chose it: While this option may not work for everyone, people without insurance or those looking for low-cost care can get comprehensive services with a basic subscription.
- Insurance coverage: not accepted
Psychiatric visits are typically more expensive than therapy sessions since psychiatrists undergo specialized education that allows them to prescribe medications. Without health insurance, these costs can add up quickly. Rethink My Therapy is an affordable online 24/7 psychiatry service that makes mental health care accessible to people with varying budgets.
The service’s monthly subscription includes ongoing access to primary care physicians, therapists, and psychiatrists for collaborative care. Care is primarily provided via video as best practice for behavioral health sessions, but phone visits are also available as a secondary option.
The network of psychiatrists can give ongoing medication management services for eating disorders, anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and more. If you want to bundle your telemedicine and telehealth needs, Rethink My Therapy may help.
How much does Rethink My Therapy cost?
Rethink My Therapy offers $24.99 for a one-time virtual consultation or a $99 monthly subscription with 24/7 access to virtual primary care and a $0 copay for psychiatrists.
|Talkspace||$199 initially, then $125 for each appointment||covered by some health plans||therapy and psychiatry that covers a range of conditions, like anxiety disorders, depression||• easy to switch providers
• unable to prescribe some medications
|Brightside||$349 per month||covered by Cigna and Evernorth in every state Brightside functions except Minnesota||24/7 appointments for psychiatry/medication management and therapy||• easy platform to maintain care and manage anxiety or depression
• focused only on treating depression
|Hers||$85 per month for prescriptions, $39 per visit||not accepted||psychiatry, medication management, therapy||• can consult with professionals before committing
• communication via online messaging only
|MDLIVE||$284 initially, then $108 for each appointment||covered by some health plans||psychiatry||• you can meet with a psychiatrist whenever is convenient for you
• unable to prescribe some medications
|Amwell||$279 initially, then $109 for each appointment||covered by some health plans||psychiatry||• pairs psychiatry with other services
• not all insurance plans cover Amwell
|Doctor on Demand||$299 initially, then $129 for each appointment||covered by some health plans, but you have to create an account to know if your network is accepted||therapy and psychiatry that covers conditions like PTSD, eating disorders, OCD, depression||• offers both mental health professionals and other professionals
• choice of professional is limited in particular areas
|LiveHealth Online||$175 initially, then $75 for each appointment||psychiatry||psychiatry||• choose from a variety of specialties without subscribing
• can take up to 2 weeks to secure an appointment
• does not prescribe controlled substances
|Teladoc||$299 initially, then $119 for each appointment||psychiatry||psychiatry||• able to choose a professional in your area
• treatments for some conditions are not offered
|Rethink My Therapy||$99 per month||not accepted||psychiatry||• low subscription cost
• does not accept insurance
We considered many factors when choosing the best online psychiatry services, including quality, ease of use, and user ratings.
A team of mental health experts oversees Healthline’s vetting process. This process uses specific criteria to ensure we’re making the best recommendations.
Some factors we considered in the vetting process include:
- whether the brand meets industry standards
- if there is a third-party certification
- whether the brand meets appropriate federal, state, or industry regulations
- if any legal action has been taken against the brand
Each service recommended in this list has a network of board-certified psychiatrists who offer telehealth appointments, so diagnoses and prescriptions can be arranged without setting foot in a doctor’s office.
It’s important to note that you may not meet with a licensed psychiatrist when using one of these services. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also prescribe medications for mental health conditions, so you may meet with one of these professionals instead.
Many people put off meeting with a psychiatrist out of fear or nervousness. If you’re unsure whether you should sign up for online psychiatry, consider your health history and any sudden changes in the way you feel physically and mentally.
“Individuals that are experiencing changes in their mood, sleep, and appetite, or have thoughts of harming themselves or other people, should consider seeing a psychiatrist,” explains Tamir S. Aldad, MD, psychiatrist and CEO of Mindful Urgent Care.
“If the patient feels that their symptoms are mild, starting with a therapist might be appropriate. Combining talk therapy with treatment involving medication has been shownTrusted Source to have better outcomes for some patients,” Aldad says.
Common reasons to see a psychiatrist include:
- thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- trouble sleeping
- obsessive thinking
Scheduling an online psychiatry appointment can also be a good fit if you need a psychiatric diagnosis, prescription medication, or a second opinion.
When considering the help of a psychiatrist, you may first want to consider why you are seeking help. Psychiatrists may provide general care, but some specialize in certain areas of therapy, like:
- anxiety disorders
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- bipolar disorder
- major depression
- substance use disorders
Your primary care doctor may offer you suggestions for selecting a psychiatrist, or even refer you to a local provider. If you are looking for online services or a telehealth provider, the list above can be a good starting point.
Some factors to take into account when picking the best online psychiatrist for you include:
- Insurance coverage: Is it important to you for your online psychiatrist or platform to accept your insurance network?
- Cost: You’ll want to keep your budget in mind when picking an online psychiatrist, especially if you intend to meet with them regularly.
- Conditions covered: Some mental health conditions may be better treated with in-person care. These conditions may include substance use disorders, eating disorders, or more-severe depression conditions.
- Commitment level: Certain online psychiatry platforms may require or offer a subscription. You may want to decide what type of commitment level you’re looking for before signing up for anything. For example, are you already taking medications and looking to manage them? Or are you interested in learning about your options?
- Types of professionals: If you don’t already have a therapist but you want to find one, this may be an important factor to consider. It may be easier for you to have all your mental health care professionals on one platform.
Research from 2016 Trusted Source suggests that online psychiatry can be an effective, affordable, and accessible alternative to face-to-face sessions.
In a 2015 study, some researchers even suggested that younger people actually prefer telepsychiatry to traditional in-person psychiatry visits. The research says telepsychiatry is especially effective for the treatment of PTSD, depression, and ADHD.
According to a 2015 research review, the growing body of evidence suggests online psychiatry services are effective, feasible, and comparable to conventional care in terms of patient and clinic satisfaction.
Online psychiatry works a lot like online therapy. In addition, to talk therapy via video calls, phone calls, and text messaging, online psychiatrists can help with medication management.
To get started, you’ll need to sign up for an online psychiatry service. This may require entering your health insurance information (if you have it) and choosing a psychiatrist.
Once you’re signed up, you can set up appointments to speak with a psychiatrist from the comfort of your own home.
You’ll just need a secure internet connection and a computer, smartphone, or tablet to attend the appointments virtually.
There are several instances when meeting with a psychiatrist might alleviate negative or overwhelming feelings, including when you’re experiencing:
- loss and grief
- stress and anxiety
- family and relationship issues
- substance use disorder
In other instances, you might want to talk with a psychiatrist to improve your overall state of mind. This could mean meeting with a psychiatrist to manage:
- a mental health condition
- performance enhancement
- mental clarity
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you might want to start meeting with a psychiatrist. It’s important to listen to yourself and understand that some events may require the guidance of a professional to work through feelings or events in a healthy way.