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Moderate Anxiety, Moderate Severe Anxiety, Psychiatry & Medication, Severe Anxiety

Online Psychiatrist

 September 11, 2020

By  Dom Partridge

Medicinal Mushrooms

Overview

Finding a good psychiatrist to speak to online that fits with your life schedule may seem difficult, but over the last few years there has been a rise in online psychiatry platforms that can help. Through these platforms, a psychiatrist delivers counseling through the Internet to help diagnose, treat, and prevent mental health conditions. Psychiatrists with various fields of expertise are available online, including those who specialise in substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety treatments, among others. To become qualified as a psychiatrist requires years of training alongside experience in treating patients, and this can be proven with certificates and state-board licenses. 

If you are looking for an online psychiatry platform, you should consider a few things, including the interaction methods, payment options, and confidentiality of your persona online. To help your search, we have reviewed several of the best online psychiatry platforms for you. Check it out.

What are the best online psychiatry platforms? 

There are a myriad of online psychiatry platforms that deliver mental health treatment via the Internet. Some have a wider specialization in depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders counseling, while some may offer therapy alongside medication support. Check out our top 5 picks which may help support you.

Why choose online psychiatry? 

Many online psychiatrists combine the practice of online counseling with face-to-face therapies in their clinical settings. Depending on the severity of mental health conditions, individuals may not get a doctor’s approval for online psychiatry due to the need for complex treatment in-person. However, if approved, an online psychiatrist may be good for: 

  • Convenience. At the touch of a button, you can access an online psychiatrist and start treatment for your particular mental health condition through a mobile phone or any other device with the Internet connection.
  • Waiting time. You do not need to sit in a waiting room for a doctor as  you decide on the time for a conversation.
  • Follow-ups. Online platforms are designed to have up to 8 times more follow-ups with your doctor than in-person psychiatry. Some platforms allow you to chat unlimitedly with a doctor or therapist, regardless of time and day.
  • Cost. The average cost of an in-person initial visit can be as high as $400 compared to online psychiatry counseling which can be as little as $100-200 if buying a monthly subscription.

Some online psychiatrist platforms may offer insurance coverage as well, so that you may get treatment at a lower price or have it partially covered. 

What to look for in a good psychiatrist? 

Some qualities that make a good psychiatrist may differ between patients and cases, however, everyone should expect their psychiatrist to demonstrate  a commitment to help individuals cope with their mental health symptoms. Beyond that, we recommend you to follow several steps which may ensure you find a good psychiatrist:

  • Ask your doctor, friends, or relatives whether they can recommend an online psychiatrist.
  • Look for top-rated online psychiatrists or online psychiatry platforms using Yelp.com or Google.com.
  • Review the profiles of online psychiatrists and look for their credentials, accreditations, and fields of expertise.
  • Ask if they have experience with your mental health condition.
  • Evaluate how they communicate with you and whether you feel comfortable counseling with them.
  • Determine if an online psychiatrist is covered by your insurance plan. 

How is it different between seeing a psychiatrist online vs in person? 

Seeing a psychiatrist online may have many benefits compared to in-person psychotherapy. The first and most obvious reason is convenience. Speaking to a psychiatrist through an internet platform using a mobile phone or other device is much more convenient than travelling to a clinic. At the touch of a button you can start chatting with the doctor and get advice. They are therefore obviously beneficial to people who can’t physically get to a clinic or who live in rural areas far from a city. Beyond that, online psychiatry may be less expensive if you buy a monthly subscription for unlimited messaging. 

However, an online psychiatrist may not be a good fit for every individual, as some may need only in-person psychotherapy due to the severity of their mental health conditions or treatment protocol. Speak to your doctor about the applicability of virtual psychotherapy for your particular case.

How does online psychiatry work? 

The delivery of online psychiatry services via the Internet is simple. First, ensure you have a steady Internet connection, then visit your preferred online psychiatry platform. For example, the Cerebral system works as follows:

  • Fill out a short questionnaire to help the platform understand your symptoms and match you with a psychiatrist.
  • When matched, connect to a video call with a prescribing provider who will determine your treatment protocol.
  • Meet your counselor who will support you through the treatment journey. You will be connected to a video call to get acquainted.

If you are prescribed medications to cope with depression or anxiety, you will receive them monthly, shipped to your door. Beyond that, you may speak to a counselor unlimitedly  to discuss the progress of the treatment and learn skills to cope with your mental health condition.

Best Overall and Best for medication with therapy support: Brightside 

Get expert care, risk free for 30 days

Brightside is certified by LegitScript and a HIPAA-compliant platform. It offers mental health treatment from a variety of top-rated online psychiatrists. Their doctors are state-board licensed depression experts.  Brightside offers a range of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy as well as interpersonal therapy. An individual may receive supportive guidance throughout the treatment, and learn how to get the most out of counseling.

Brightside has been featured by experts from Stanford Center for Mental Health and Technology, the University of Wisconsin as well as Yale University.

Their partnership with TruePill allows Brightside to deliver safe and effective medications to patients. Medication treatment with Brightside is currently only 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.

Highlights:

  • The medication plan costs $95 per month in addition to pharmacy copay or $15 per medication.
  • Medication+Therapy plan costs $240 per month with a pharmacy copay or $15 per medication.
  • Therapy with Brightside costs $165 per month for unlimited messaging with an online psychiatrist.
  • Medications are provided by the TruePill pharmacy service.
  • Brightside online psychiatrist services are not available in all the states.

Best Value: Cerebral 

Closing the gap in access to high-quality mental health care

Cerebral is an online platform that delivers comprehensive online care and access to medications to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It provides mental health treatment to individuals aged 18 and older. Currently, the prescription of medications is only available in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas. 

Beyond that, Cerebral offers several behavioral techniques to help treat mental health conditions, including mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, and grounding exercises. 

Highlights:

  • The monthly subscription fee is $99. The price includes video conferences, unlimited chatting with an online psychiatrist as well as video visits with a provider to follow up a prescription of medications, their cost, and delivery.
  • Free shipping.
  • No prescription needed, as Cerebral online psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medications in select areas.

Best for those looking for anxiety / depression and other conditions: PlushCare 

“Personalized care for whatever life throws at your body”

PlushCare is an online platform that delivers primary care services. The doctors of PlushCare are selected from the top 50 U.S medical institutions, and are U.S board-certified to treat many health conditions. You may get help for a variety of illnesses and ailments including cold and flu, infections, and headaches, as well as treatment for anxiety and depression.

Highlights:

  • The doctors have at least 15 years of experience in their fields of practice.
  • PlushCare treatment services may be covered with certain insurance plans. For uninsured patients, a membership fee is $99 plus a monthly fee of $14.99.
  • Services all 50 states + D.C.

Best for insurance coverage: Doctors on Demand

“Rethinking the way you receive care”

Doctors on Demand is an online platform that offers urgent care, chronic care, behavioral, and preventative health services. It is staffed by U.S board-certified physicians, psychiatrists as well as psychologists. Among the mental health treatments, Doctors on Demand deliver management of depression, postpartum depression, and anxiety.

Highlights:

  • They serve all states in the U.S.
  • Accept insurance plans. Alternatively,  an individual pays $40 for a 15-minute session with the psychiatrist. No need for a monthly or yearly subscription fee.

Note, all these online psychiatrist platforms do not write prescriptions for controlled substances. Furthermore, these platforms are not suitable for those with self-harm issues or suicidal thinking. These cases require in-person therapy or certain treatment protocols decided by your doctor.

Refer to this research of the best online psychiatrists when you seek additional help for mental health treatment. Do not forget to speak to your doctor about the efficacy or safety of such a treatment. We wish you all the best in finding a good online psychiatrist who may meet your needs and requirements.

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.


Dom is a PhD and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland focusing his research in development of nutritional and exercise strategies to increase resilience and improve health outcomes in a target ageing population.

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