5 Best Online Psychiatry Services in 2022

Telehealth has made strides in the medical community over the past few years, especially since the pandemic began. Patients no longer need to meet in person for quick follow-up appointments and can now receive treatments and medications from the comfort of their own home. Healthcare providers can now hop on a video or phone call to meet their patients’ needs.

The same is true for mental health professionals, who have seen a significant demand for telepsychiatry services. Psychiatrists can now see patients and prescribe medication online.

What is a psychiatrist?

Before deciding if a psychiatrist is right for you, a distinction should be made between the terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist”. Psychologists are mental health professionals who provide psychological counseling (such as therapy) but are unable to prescribe medication. On the other hand, psychiatrists specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of mental health disorders and may prescribe medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers. Although both are highly skilled and trained, only psychiatrists are doctors.

If you need medication and advice, you may need to see both a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

Is online psychiatry effective?

Online psychiatrists are best for those with busy schedules. They reduce travel time, uncomfortable waiting rooms and, according to research, may even cost less than traditional in-person psychiatry. This all sounds good, but is it as effective? The same study concluded that “telepsychiatry is a feasible and acceptable approach”, particularly for young people and vulnerable and underserved communities.

We have put together a curated list of the best online psychiatry platforms based on affordability, accessibility, convenience, and level of professionalism.

Screenshot by Caroline Igo/CNET

Talkspace begins our list of the best online psychiatry services. The app-based company provides medication management for people with anxiety, depression, insomnia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Starting services is easy. Do a quick assessment to determine the right psychiatrist for you and answer questions about a provider’s insurance, location, and gender preference. Talkspace will then take up to 48 hours to match you with a licensed psychiatrist or nurse practitioner.

A first session costs $249 and any subsequent follow-up session is $125. Packages for new clients are also available, with a first session and a follow-up appointment starting at $365, three follow-up appointments at $565 and six follow-up appointments at $849.

Benefits of Talkspace:

  • Customers with out-of-network benefits can submit claims and be reimbursed approximately 50-90% of the cost
  • Live video sessions are available on the web or on the app for Android or Apple
  • If you don’t like your original provider, you can switch to another free of charge

Disadvantages of Talkspace:

  • Talkspace only accepts Premera, Cigna, Gatorcare and Optum insurance
  • Medication delivery is only available if your insurance allows it
  • Persons under the age of 18 cannot use Talkspace services

Screenshot by Caroline Igo/CNET

Short for “American well”, Amwell is a telehealth service based in Boston, MA. The national society prescribes drugs for people with anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognitive impairment, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, OCD and PTSD.

One of the best parts of Amwell is its ability to work with your primary care physician and other providers. You’ll never have to pay for duplicate prescriptions or tests, and your GP will always know.

Registrations are always free. Amwell then allows you to browse the personal biographies, education, and experience of its vendors before choosing the right one for you. Finally, schedule your appointments online and chat with your psychiatrist via video.

The initial 45-minute session costs $279 and each follow-up 15-minute session costs $109.

Benefits of using Amwell:

  • Amwell accepts a wide range of insurance providers
  • Psychiatrists are available on weekends and evenings
  • You can choose your psychiatrist from a wide range of options

Disadvantages of Amwell:

  • Amwell is unable to prescribe controlled substances (such as Adderall) but will advise your GP
  • It can take up to two weeks to correspond with a psychiatrist and make an appointment
  • Amwell does not see patients under 18

Screenshot by Caroline Igo/CNET

One of the first online telehealth companies, Teladoc has a long history of prescribing medications for general illnesses (like colds and flu, allergies, and sinus infections) and mental health. The company helps people with addiction, anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and more. It also has the most flexible scheduling of the services on this list.

After registering, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire as well as your medical history. Then you can choose a provider that you think is the best fit for you. Finally, enter your preferred days and times when you are available for a virtual meeting. Each psychiatrist is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., perfect for those who need to schedule outside of work hours.

The initial session starts at $299 and each follow-up will cost $119. Services are also available in Canada.

Advantages of Teladoc:

  • Able to choose your psychiatrist from photos and short biographies
  • Can schedule video or phone sessions
  • Access to adolescent mental health

Disadvantages of Teladoc:

  • Can take up to a week to be matched with a psychiatrist
  • The prices on the website are not very clear, may depend on your insurance
  • Teladoc cannot prescribe controlled substances

Screenshot by Caroline Igo/CNET

Brightside focuses on helping people with anxiety and depression. According to the website, “86% of Brightside members feel better within 12 weeks.”

Brightside is different in that your service is subscription-based. You’ll be billed monthly, and although it’s non-refundable, you can cancel at any time. Brightside gives you unlimited access to your psychiatrist via instant message through their app, live video sessions, and recordings.

Getting started is easy. First, do a mental health assessment, then Brightside will connect you with a provider who will create a personalized treatment plan for you. The medications are then sent directly to your door.

The cost varies, but the monthly subscription starts at $95 for unlimited sessions.

Benefits of using Brightside:

  • You can order your medicines to be delivered
  • Find and meet a psychiatrist within 48 hours
  • Patients have free access to self-care lessons from Brightside

Disadvantages of Brightside:

  • Health insurance is not accepted (although HSA/FSA may be accepted)
  • Service is not available in all states
  • You can’t choose your psychiatrist

Screenshot by Caroline Igo/CNET

Similar to Teladoc, MDLive serves patients with both general illnesses and mental health issues. MDLive can prescribe medication for people with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma and PTSD, panic disorders and other mental health issues.

MDLive is aimed at children and adolescents aged 10 and over. Parents and guardians have the ability to choose their child’s care provider from a long list of mental health professionals.

After signing up and sharing the reason you are looking for a psychiatrist, you can choose your own provider. Then connect with your psychiatrist via your phone, tablet or computer. Each session will last 15 to 30 minutes.

The initial session is $284 and each follow-up is $108, depending on insurance coverage.

Advantages of MDLive:

  • The service is available for children over 10 years old
  • Finding and meeting a supplier can be done in just a few days
  • Accepts a wide range of insurance providers

Disadvantages of MDLive:

  • A parent or guardian must be present during a child’s first session
  • Cannot prescribe stimulants or controlled substance medications
  • MDLive suppliers cannot provide documentation for disabled animals or emotional support

Should I consult a psychiatrist?

Patients seek psychiatric help for a variety of reasons, whether they need help getting through daily life, have heavy feelings of sadness, or want a potential diagnosis. Seeing a psychiatrist can be a good starting point for patients looking to find relief.

If you are carrying heavy loads or just want to discuss starting treatment, a psychiatrist may be right for you. A provider can also point you in the right direction if you have questions about counseling or therapy. However, a psychologist is not allowed to prescribe medication for you. If medications or diagnosis are your primary concern, see a psychiatrist.

Before choosing an online or in-person psychiatrist, be sure to consider your health insurance provider and any preferences you expect from your psychiatrist. The right psychiatrist for you will have experience treating your area of ​​concern and will work with your schedule.

As always, speak with your GP or therapist before deciding if a medication or psychiatrist is right for you.

If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, seek help immediately by calling 911 or National Suicide Prevention Lifetime at 1-800-273-8255.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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