Online psychiatry is the delivery of psychiatric evaluations and treatment over the internet. Licensed psychiatrists can provide evaluation, diagnosis, prescription, and therapy services just as effectively in a virtual setting.
Below, you can learn about the difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist, where to find the best online psychiatrists, how to reduce costs and what these treatments entail.
When assessing the quality of over-the-phone psychiatrists along with the platforms themselves, there will always be an element of subjectivity. However, by breaking down ratings into smaller categories, we can better assess individual elements with more objectivity. Furthermore, by taking the consensus of each platform’s reviews into account, we can quantify customer satisfaction which is a useful indicator.
The categories we rated each online psychiatrist platform on are: price, treatment options, the app and software, customer service, and safety and privacy. When putting these together, we arrive at an overall rating.
That said, just because one psychiatry telehealth company is rated higher than another, it doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. It’s important to take into account one’s own needs to see if they align with the strengths of each platform. For example, some do not accept insurance or Medicare, which could be a deal-breaker for some.
Brightside Health is a 2017-founded telehealth company located in San Francisco Bay. In the short time that Brightside has been operating, they have built up a positive reputation quickly along with a fairly advanced tech platform.
Brightside claims to specialize in treating anxiety and depression. While they do provide psychiatric care, there are not too many therapists available – nor can the patient choose their therapist.
Even though the free assessment and fast appointments are useful, the platform isn’t appropriate for someone with mental health disorders beyond anxiety and depression.
However, the small team provides excellent customer service, some surprisingly fantastic software, and a very flexible pricing structure of $95 – $345 per month. Medication can be prescribed and they also work with Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, and Anthem.
Ultimately, this is a great option for managing online mental health prescriptions. You won’t get lost with the tight-knit team at Brightside, who will stay on top of your medical history and medication with close care.
Talkspace is the opposite of Brightside in many ways. Founded in 2012 and with half a billion in funding behind them, Talkspace has become something of an industry leader in the online therapy space. Unlike its core competitor BetterHelp, Talkspace offers online psychiatric evaluations along with medical prescriptions.
The cost of Talkspace ranges from $65 to $95 per week, though live sessions aren’t included in the lower price. Talkspace also works with a wide variety of insurance companies, Medicare, and depending on the state, Medicaid as well.
Sesame Care is a 2018-founded telehealth company that is located in New York. Sesame’s core unique value proposition is that they can provide same-day, on-demand appointments.
With a strong focus on providing immediate treatment and strong customer relations, customer satisfaction ranks very high. With a strong reputation such high-quality therapists, Sesame Care also ranks high for safety, too.
When it comes to the range of services available, Sesame Care falls short because it does not have a mobile app – only video and phone sessions are supported. Users can very freely choose their psychiatrist and see the subsequent price of each; this is good for some users, but bad for others who want things to be more flexible.
Ultimately, Sesame Care has a fairly competitive pricing and 20% off the first booking, but it does not accept insurance. It’s great for emergency care and same-day psychiatrist online appointments.
Amwell has become an industry leader when it comes to credibility and authority. During its operations since 2006, Amwell has been offering a vast range of telehealth services, from online pediatrics and nutrition counseling to virtual psychiatry and urgent care.
Psychiatric assessments, evaluations, and treatment are all available. Getting mental health medication online is made easy – as there’s a lot of flexibility and responses are fast.
Like Sesame, no chats or texting is allowed, nor are there quite as many psychiatrists available as some other competitors. But, Amwell works with many insurance companies, has great customer service, and a fairly competitive pricing structure of $99-$119 per meeting.
Rethink My Therapy is another telehealth provider with plenty of mental health specialists available. While user ratings of the platform has been overall positive, there are significant negatives that Rethink My Therapy ranks poorly in.
Firstly, no text or chat therapy is available. Secondly, therapists take a while to get back to users and the first appointment can take up to 7 days to set up. Finally, no insurance is accepted.
However, there are some positives to consider before ruling the platform out. Online medication management is available for those that already have a prescription, and all of the therapists are there (with bios) to choose from.
Most importantly, Rethink specializes in providing a cheap online psychiatrist. Between $99 and $159 per month, these are some of the cheapest rates around for licensed psychiatric services.
Founded in 2012, Doctor on Demand is one of the largest telehealth companies in the US. This telehealth company provides a doctor for a wide range of healthcare needs, much like Amwell. Users have the ability to browse and choose a psychiatrist of their liking.
Live video sessions are the only option and prices can be quite steep. There isn’t a subscription model unlike other sites, meaning you can expect to pay around $179 per meeting.
On the positive side, the mobile app is very easy to use and has fantastic ratings (4.9 out of 5 on Google Play Store). In fact, the app performs better than the website, which is a unique advantage for some users. Insurance is accepted (including Medicare), and psychiatric treatment can be combined with many, many other services.
An online psychiatrist is a medically trained doctor. They can perform a full psychiatric evaluation and prescribe medication in response to the results. A therapist, while strictly licensed, cannot.
A therapist is usually a trained counselor or psychologist who performs talking therapy on patients to treat their mental health symptoms. For example, conducting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to alleviate anxiety, depression, and OCD.
But, if a patient is suffering from psychosis, schizophrenia, and other server disorders, then a psychiatric evaluation is needed. Generally, a psychiatrist does not administer talking therapy, which is why using an online platform that has both psychiatrists and therapists is often recommended.
There are many symptoms that may indicate you should consider booking a virtual psychiatry session:
Whilesome of these symptoms may simply be a mental health condition that a therapist can adequately tackle, a psychiatric evaluation is a great first step. This will be the place in which you can receive a diagnosis from a trained doctor.
If they believe you would benefit from CBT administered by a therapist, then this will be what they recommend. But, if it’s something more severe that potentially will require medication or more intensive psychiatric treatment, they can spot this in the assessment.
Online psychiatry works in