In recent years, many online therapy options have surfaced to make mental health treatment more accessible. Choosing among the many options can be challenging, but each type of online therapy has benefits and drawbacks to evaluate. The best online therapy services include TalkSpace, Wellnite, Monument, Circles, and Pride Counseling; depending on what services you are looking to focus on.
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Best Online Therapy Services in 2021
Online therapy has become a popular treatment option for many individuals seeking mental health counseling. A Forbes study found that 21 percent of adults, 38 percent of millennials, 16 percent of Gen X, and 10 percent of baby boomers have used teletherapy in the past year.
Choosing which therapy option is best for you can be challenging when so many online therapy platforms are available. Below we outline which therapy options may be best depending on your needs as a patient:
- Best for Frequent Communication: TalkSpace
- Best for Depression and Anxiety: Wellnite
- Best for Addiction: Monument
- Best for Group Therapy: Circles
- Best for LGBTQ+: Pride Counseling
Best for Frequent Communication: Talkspace
With Talkspace, you can have unlimited messaging and guaranteed responses five days a week. While expensive, Talkspace is excellent for those that want to communicate frequently and feel most comfortable using messaging as their primary form of communication. The cost of Talkspace varies depending on location and the type of treatment service. Initial evaluations with a psychiatrist are $199, and follow-up sessions are $125. Insomnia therapy is also available and costs $520 for an 8-week program.
Talkspace offers 1-on-1 therapy with a licensed professional and does not offer group therapy. Talkspace may also partner with your health plan to provide online therapy to employees through employee assistance programs (EAP) and behavioral health benefits. To determine whether Talkspace is included in your plan, contact your benefits department or call the member services on the back of your insurance card.
Best for Anxiety and Depression: Wellnite
Wellnite provides services such as medication management and talk therapy to treat depression or anxiety. Once you subscribe, you will be able to connect same-day with a board-certified physician licensed in your state. Wellnite uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Plans cost either $75 a month or $195 a month for access to monthly doctor consultations and four monthly mental health coaching sessions. Both memberships include access to Wellnite’s community, including newsletters, blog posts, and other resources. If you require medication, Wellnite covers the cost of your first prescription. The more expensive plan option adds two monthly video calls with a licensed therapist. Wellnite does not work with any insurance plans.
Best for Addiction: Monument
Monument is an online platform that specializes in alcohol addiction treatment. Members have access to therapist-moderated support groups and to the Monument community. Plan prices range depending on the number of physician appointments. You get access to the support groups for just $9.99 per month and a $45 initial fee but only one monthly physician appointment and no therapy appointments. The physician plan can be paired with one of the other plans that give you access to bi-weekly or weekly therapy sessions.
The Monument support groups are hour-long virtual video sessions on topics related to changing your relationship with alcohol and have no requirement to turn on your video. Monument also has a peer support network enabling you to connect privately with those in your support groups and access the latest Monument resources.
Best for Group Therapy: Circles
Circles focuses explicitly on group therapy. The platform matches you with a circle with eight people in similar situations and a professional therapist. Circles provides a 7-day trial for just $20 per week or $80 monthly with unlimited messaging and weekly sessions. Examples of circle topics include dealing with grief after losing a spouse, grief after losing a child, navigating divorce or separation, tools for coping with stress and anxiety, and more.
During each session, you may be guided through a group discussion, exercises, or interactive activities. You do not always have to share during group sessions, but Circles requires you to have your camera on during the session for better trust among your peers.
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Best for LGBTQ+: Pride Counseling
Pride Counseling is a therapy platform specifically for those in the LGBTQ+ community. They have a wide range of licensed and certified therapists, all specializing in the LGBTQ+ community. Communication can be done through chat messages with your therapist, speaking over the phone, or video conferencing with your therapist.
The cost of Pride Counseling ranges from $60 to $90 per week but is billed every four weeks. Members can message their therapist at any time. Pride Counseling does not work with any insurance plan or federal health insurance program.
Best Overall: BetterHelp
BetterHelp was found to be the best overall because of the vast amount of providers available and the range of mental health conditions the services help treat. The online therapy platform has tens of thousands of providers trained to treat a range of conditions. BetterHelp is said to work with ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, relationship issues, and other mental health issues, including couples and family therapy.
The cost of BetterHelp is in line with other online therapy options ranging between $60-$90 per week. While BetterHelp is not covered by any health insurance providers, BetterHelp is one of the few online therapy options with financial aid available for access to sliding scale providers.
Online Therapy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Online therapy is a great way to get mental health services and avoids any barriers caused by transportation. Consider the following questions when choosing the therapy option most suitable for your needs.
How much does online therapy cost?
Many therapists have migrated their in-person sessions to virtual platforms, and several apps have been created to help connect patients with mental health professionals. Pricing for these online services varies depending on the frequency of use and the type of counseling service requested.
Below is the breakdown of the cost range per month for some popular online therapy options if paying without insurance.
Monthly Price for Online Therapy
|Therapy Option||Monthly Price|
Virtual care for only $25 per visit
Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.
Can online therapists prescribe medication?
Yes, most online mental health platforms have licensed psychiatrists or other mental health professionals able to prescribe medication. It is important to note that licensed social workers or psychologists cannot prescribe medication, so you may get referred to a provider that can prescribe medication. The cost of seeing a psychiatrist may be higher than seeing a licensed social worker or psychologist.
What other types of mental health platforms or applications exist?
Many other mental health applications focus on other treatments aside from just therapy. These platforms do not connect you with professionals but instead utilize self-paced tools backed by science for stress management, coping skills, organization, and mood tracking through games, checklists, breathing exercises, and more. Consider the following applications as additional tools in managing your mental health concerns:
Should I go to virtual therapy or in-person therapy?
Online therapy is equally effective as in-person therapy in treating a variety of mental health concerns. Some people prefer to speak with a therapist in person; however, virtual therapy may be a great option if you do not have time to see a therapist in person or do not have transportation. In addition, virtual therapy can give you more options and flexibility in terms of which provider you see, type of therapy, and timing of therapy sessions.
Does insurance cover online therapy?
Many insurance providers, including Medicaid and Medicare, now cover online therapy. However, not every online therapy platform accepts health insurance and may require out-of-pocket payment. Many businesses have started partnering with online therapy providers as an added health benefit for their workers. Talkspace accepts the largest insurance coverage network, including plans such as Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Optum, and Humana.
Online therapy may make seeking and retaining treatment more accessible and more convenient. A variety of online therapy options exist for a wide range of services to choose from or a more tailored approach when it comes to managing your mental health. The best option for you will depend on your mental health needs, your communication preference, and the type of treatment you seek.
For only $45 per month, a Mira membership can get you access to affordable urgent care, lab tests, and up to 80% off prescriptions. In addition, Mira will soon be offering telebehavioral health services online. With Mira, you can finally have affordable coverage for your and your family’s health needs. Sign up and get care today!
Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!