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Psychiatry & Medication

How to find the best psychiatrist near me

 April 17, 2020

By  Natalie Kirilova

Medicinal Mushrooms

Overview

What makes a good psychiatrist and how can I find the best psychiatrist near me? Those are excellent questions! Basically, a psychiatrist is a doctor that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. These doctors are specifically trained to understand the complex relationship between mental and physical health and the best psychiatrists have years of specialized training, years of clinical experience, and generally enjoy working with people.

“Psychiatrists attend medical school after they complete their undergraduate studies. After four years of medical school, psychiatrists move on to a four-year residency... [then the best psychiatrists] can choose to specialize further," notes the UCLA Medical School website.

So how do I find the best psychiatrists near me?

If you are looking for the best psychiatrist near you who practices in a physical office setting — and ideally, one right down the road — there are excellent resources available. The first, and probably most common way to find a good psychiatrist near you, would be to ask your general practitioner (GP) for a referral. Your doctor knows your personality, unique needs and set of circumstances and should be able to make a good suggestion. Beyond that, family members and close friends will oftentimes have personal relationships with good psychiatrists and privately discuss their strengths and weaknesses with you. You can also try utilizing a search engine by entering the search string “psychiatrist near me.”

Did you know that there exist many online platforms for finding the best psychiatrist near you? Literally, at the touch of a button, you can contact a top rated psychiatrist and receive treatment through your mobile phone or other device and get an appointment in just a few days — if not hours — rather than waiting weeks or months to see a good psychiatrist in person. 

Did you know the average wait time to see a good psychiatrist in person is about 4 weeks? 

What are the best online psychiatry platforms?

As there are a ton of accredited, good psychiatrists now practicing online, there are also many new platforms providing comprehensive psychiatric services for depression and anxiety. They are designed to connect you with a highly-rated psychiatrist, facilitate payment and accept insurance copays, and then deliver treatment from the privacy of your device. What makes a good psychiatrist in the USA, anyway? Well, check it out: we’ve actually done the research for you. 

Why choose online psychiatry?

Often, the best psychiatrists for anxiety and depression are practicing (in one form or another) online, usually in addition to their traditional face-to-face practice. There are many reasons to choose online psychiatry:

  • Ability to get appointments faster
  • The convenience of accessing healthcare on your schedule
  • No waiting in a lobby
  • Not spending time and money on travel to and from appointments
  • Abundance of post-care follow-up appointments, typically at no additional cost
  • Generous touch points between the patient and psychiatrist relative to traditional in office visits
  • Ability to choose from a large number of psychiatrists by interviewing multiple candidates and ability to switch to a different psychiatrist within the platform 
  • Affordability!

According to recent John Hopkins study, the average cost of an initial, in-person doctor’s appointment can be as high as $400. For patients lacking insurance coverage, this is virtually cost-prohibitive. With value-conscious services like Cerebral and Plushcare available, mental healthcare is now available at lower price points. 

What to look for in a good psychiatrist?

What are the qualities of a good psychiatrist? Making the decision to ask for help with your emotions, behaviors, and relationships can be difficult in the best of circumstances. However, finding a good psychiatrist near you can be the single most important step towards “living your best life.” If online psychiatry is not familiar to you — or you’ve had a negative experience in the past — it may not be as straightforward as you think to find a good psychiatrist with whom you feel at-ease. 

We recommend following a few steps to help ensure you find a good psychiatrist for anxiety and depression that meets your needs. Check out these tips for finding the best psychiatrist near you or selecting an online psychiatric service:

  1. Best option is to get a referral
  2. Carefully review the online psychiatrist’s credentials and accreditations
  3. Ask if they have experience with your particular healthcare goals
  4. Evaluate their communication style and if you feel comfortable speaking with them
  5. Determine if the in-person or online psychiatrist is covered by your insurance, or for cash-paying customers, if you can afford their services

How does online psychiatry work?

Online psychiatry is the delivery of mental healthcare services via the internet through video conference-style phone calls. The process, surprisingly, is relatively simple. For example, Plushcare’s system works as follows:

  • The patient books an appointment that’s convenient for them
  • They immediately speak with an highly-rated, online psychiatrist or other healthcare professional via the Plushcare app
  • Together they complete the signup process, perform an initial consult, and then map out an individual treatment plan
  • If psychiatric medications are prescribed, the patient can then pick up their prescription from their local pharmacy or have it delivered
  • After that, the patient is free to speak with their care team at anytime

Online psychiatry typically makes healthcare more accessible, providing access to top rate psychiatrists and other resources. Ostensibly, psychiatric service providers available through these media are licensed, accredited, and audited to ensure they are able to legally provide care in the state where you live.

In fact, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online treatment was just as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression.

Our Top Picks

Backed by top experts in the mental health field — and boasting recommendations on their website from the Stanford Center for Mental Health and Technology and other prominent psychiatrists — Brightside offers comprehensive mental healthcare solutions from top rated psychiatrists.


Although the exact number of online psychiatrists working with Brightside is unpublished, their provider network includes doctors and nurse practitioners "who are graduates of prominent US medical schools, have several years of experience, and have current licenses to practice in [your] state." 


Medication with Brightside is currently available in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. 

In addition to the prescription services provided by Brightside, therapy is also available in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.


A consistently-lauded favorite among patients in online discussion forums, Brightside boasts some of the highest satisfaction survey scores around. They’re definitely providing some of the best psychiatrists for anxiety and depression. For patients that require both therapy and medication, Brightside offers an affordable and comprehensive program. 

As noted above, their medication program is available in many states. However, because the accreditation process for psychiatric therapy is more complex, their counseling services are available in a smaller number of areas. According to their website, they are continually adding new service locations.


Highlights:

  • Their medication plan alone costs $95 per month in addition to your pharmacy's copay, or $15 per medication

  • By using a current website promotion, Brightside's psychiatric medication and therapy plan is $240 per month plus the cost of medication

  • Medication is available for delivery through the TruePill pharmacy service

  • As noted, Brightside provides medication, therapy, and a program integrating both of these treatment options

  • Not all service locations that provide medication are also able to provide therapy

  • The plans they offer range from less than a hundred dollars to $240 per month, plus the attendant cost of medication

Cerebral is a mental health subscription service that provides clients with ongoing “access to online care and medication management for anxiety, depression, and insomnia” for a singular monthly rate.

Cerebral is available to people ages 18 and older, living within the states listed on their website, and who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or insomnia. 

In order to prescribe medication, healthcare service providers must obtain state licensure from the state in which their client is located. Currently, Cerebral serves residents of California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 

It is worth noting that many patients using Cerebral’s services do not take psychiatric medication. While this is certainly an option and many patients are prescribed meds, many patients solely rely upon some form of therapy as the core of their treatment plan.

Highlights:

  • Cerebral offers a subscription model and only costs $99 per month

  • Their service includes ongoing video appointments, unlimited messaging and monthly video visits with a care manager, and your prescriptions

  • The cost of your medication and medication delivery is included in the flat fee

  • For value conscious patients, Cerebral offers the best value for the overall, total cost

PlushCare provides urgent care and primary care services virtually. Patients are able to speak with a good psychiatrist near them or general practitioner through their mobile or desktop device, receive a diagnosis, treatment plan, and a prescription — typically within minutes. 


Since October of 2018, PlushCare has been treating patients nationwide, serving all 50 states and Washington, D.C. However, not all of their services are available in every state.


Highlights:

  • Plushcare is a more “full service” online platforms and it is a good option for those looking not just for online psychiatry and therapy support, but also for other types of treatments

  • All of PlushCare’s highly-rated psychiatrists have been trained at "top 50 medical institutions" and have an average of 15 years of experience in their respective specializations

  • It's unclear at this time in which particular states Plushcare offers therapy

  • If Plushcare accepts their insurance, patients simply pay their copay or monthly coinsurance fee

  • For cash-paying patients, PlushCare charges $99.00 plus a monthly membership fee of $14.99 per month.

In December of 2013, talk show personality and licensed therapist Dr. Phil McGraw announced the Doctors on Demand platform via various media outlets. Adam Jackson, the site’s cofounder and onetime CEO then noted, “There are 1.2 billion ambulatory care visits every year, and the vast majority of people are walking in for something like colds or urinary tract infections that are very amenable to an initial consultation over video.”


Doctors On Demand is currently providing online psychiatric services and general medicine in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.


The platform does not treat traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, chest pain, coughing blood, lacerations, loss of consciousness, severe burns, broken bones, or pediatric ear and throat concerns.


Highlights:

  • Although not explicitly stated on their website, a representative for the company confirmed the platform “provides good psychiatrists” and “highly-rated online psychiatric services” in the states they serve

  • Doctors on Demand now works with many insurance providers and cash-paying clients are charged $40 for a 15-minute session with their psychiatrist

  • By the company’s own admission, the doctor receives ¾ of the $40 fee, whereas the company keeps the remaining ten dollars

  • Their mental health screening tool is thorough, unique, and although “not intended to diagnose any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, can be useful for patients looking for basic guidance

  • Finding the best psychiatrist near you is never easy, but the vast quantity of information available for free via their website is a great place to start your wellness journey

But how do I connect with the “best psychiatrist near me” — there are a lot of options to choose from! The truth is that finding a good psychiatrist is a little bit of luck and a lot of trial and error. Whether you find the best psychiatrist near you down the street or halfway across the country via an app or website, it’ll be helpful to follow the guidelines laid out in this article. 


It is worth noting that none of the online psychiatric service platforms we surveyed — including Doctors on Demand — write prescriptions for controlled substances. They unilaterally recommend that patients requiring substantial pain management, certain ADD/ADHD medications, sedatives, or other controlled substances seek in-person care. 


We can hear you saying, “finding the best psychiatrist near me” is going to be challenging! And truth be told, a good psychiatrist that meets your unique needs aren’t necessarily a dime a dozen. However, the most important step on your journey is to become informed — and then act then act on that knowledge. We believe that you’ll not only find the best psychiatrist near you, but that with a little patience, practicing some self-kindness, and a little faith in yourself — you can meet all of your healthcare goals. We wish you the best of all possible outcomes on your mental health journey and finding a good psychiatrist online.

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Natalie Kirilova


Natalie is a writer with a focus in medical research with over 10 years of experience

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