You can participate in therapy sessions from afar by using email, chat rooms, video, or the phone. According to research, 70% of patients lack access to conventional, in-office therapy. Fortunately, the expanding market for online therapy has made it simpler (and frequently more affordable) to obtain mental health care, regardless of whether you put in unusually long hours, have a busy family, reside in a remote area, or lack insurance. We will look at the best free online mental health counseling options in 2023.
We surveyed over 100 users from each of the 33 companies we examined to determine which offered the best online mental health counseling services. We also sent in-depth questionnaires to the companies to learn more about them. The following is a list of the best online mental health counseling services.
Online Mental Health Counselling Free
Online and in-person mental health and therapy services offer the same professional, caring care. We concentrated on assessing the elements that distinguish and facilitate online therapy services.
We did not consider the cost because these services vary depending on insurance and subscription plans. Instead, we chose budget-friendly services. Instead, we chose services that could work for a variety of budgets.
BetterHelp — Best Overall
The fact that BetterHelp offers flexible communication options, reasonable rates, and a staff of more than 14,000 committed, skilled mental health professionals puts it at the top of our list of the best on-demand therapy services.
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Sesame – Best for the Underinsured
Regardless of their location, income level, or insurance status, Sesame’s dynamic marketplace gives patients the tools to see a doctor or specialist, get a prescription or lab, and more.
Talkspace — Best for Convenient Communication
With its primary therapy delivery method of unlimited audio, video, and text messages between clients and their therapists, Talkspace is an excellent platform for accessible, convenient care.
Amwell — Best for Insurance Coverage
Amwell makes therapy accessible and affordable for many patients as it accepts insurance from many major providers, including Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare.
MDLive — Best for Medication Management
Members of MDLive have access to counselors and psychiatrists, who, when necessary, can write prescriptions for medication in addition to therapy.
Pride Counseling — Best for LGBTQ+
The therapists at Pride Counseling have a specialization in working with LGBTQ+ people to meet the specific needs of this community in a discreet, cost-effective, and convenient manner.
Best Online Mental Health Counselling
Here are the best online mental health counseling services below:
With access to 14,000 licensed, credentialed therapists who can help with issues like stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, grief, and interpersonal relationships, BetterHelp has been used by nearly 700,000 clients since its launch in 2013.
The BetterHelp platform is simple to use. Users register and answer a brief questionnaire about their background and the problems they want to solve. With the help of BetterHelp, the client can speak with a counselor via live chat, video chat, or phone call.
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- With more than 14,000 licensed therapists, BetterHelp is one of the biggest online mental health counseling platforms.
- BetterHelp also provides scheduled live chat, phone, or video call options and unlimited asynchronous, 24/7 counseling chats with your counselor. Clients can access the “meeting room” at any time to review old chats and discussion points from earlier sessions. All communication takes place in this private and secure space.
- BetterHelp’s main drawback is that no health insurance is accepted on the platform to cover the cost of services.
- The lack of on-staff psychiatrists is another drawback, as it forces clients who might require prescription drugs to manage their mental health care needs to seek those services elsewhere.
As a “superstore for great doctors and specialists,” Sesame advertises that it offers a database of treatment options at a reduced cost by paying healthcare professionals directly. From mental health and prescriptions to dentistry and urgent care, Sesame can assist you in finding a wide variety of services in your neighborhood. You can search for care on their website in four different ways: by location, by type of care, by specialty, or by symptom, so you shouldn’t have any trouble locating the mental health resources that are right for you.
- Not reliant on insurance protection
- A simple-to-use database of services in your area
- Plus, membership represents excellent value for the monthly dues.
- Accepts health insurance but refuses to use it
- Not accessible everywhere. To determine whether the service is offered in your area, visit the Sesame website.
Talkspace gives customers a variety of options so they can customize the service to meet their unique needs. Customers can select the level of service that best suits them and their lifestyle with the availability of multiple-tier plans. Additionally, the platform gives users access to a private text-based chat room where they can communicate with their therapist using text, audio, and video messages, as well as pictures.
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The professionals at Talkspace pair clients with their therapist after an initial consultation, during which clients complete a brief questionnaire. A crucial and extremely personal part of therapy is selecting a therapist. Additionally, Talkspace provides tailored plans for couples and teen counseling.
- The main benefit of Talkspace is that the majority of client and therapist communication occurs asynchronously through text, video, and audio messages.
- Another significant advantage of Talkspace is that more than 40 million Americans now have insurance coverage for the service as a result of partnerships with several U.S. health plans. Before registering with Talkspace, clients should verify with their insurance company that telehealth services are covered.
- While some users might appreciate that Talkspace primarily uses asynchronous messaging to deliver therapy, others might be dissatisfied that live, one-on-one counseling sessions via video chat are only offered with more expensive premium subscription plans.
- Users who do use plans with live sessions should be aware that they are only 30 minutes long, whereas most therapy sessions, whether in-person or online, last 45 to 50 minutes on average.
Amwell is a strong telehealth platform with a service menu that includes mental and behavioral healthcare.
Through Amwell’s website or mobile app, users can book an appointment or have on-demand access to a therapist. Doctoral-level psychologists, master’s-level therapists, and social workers are among the mental health specialists on Amwell’s staff who are certified and trained to deliver interventions and treatment via telehealth.
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- Having psychiatrists on hand means users can easily connect with a doctor who has the authority to prescribe if they need medication to help manage their mental health issues. This is another benefit of AmWell’s online therapy services.
- Amwell also provides counseling services, with parental or guardian consent, for kids and teens aged 10 to 17, in addition to individual therapy services.
- Amwell’s therapy services are the most expensive of all the ones we examined, costing $110 for each session with a doctoral-level therapist.
- Since all therapy sessions at Amwell take place over video chat, patients need a device with a camera and microphone.
A telehealth service called MDLive provides counseling for both physical and mental health issues. Whether talk therapy alone is sufficient for you or prescription medication is required, you can get all the help you need from their behavioral health network, which includes both licensed therapists and psychiatrists.
Users only need to sign up for a free account with MDLive to begin therapy. From there, they can look through the profiles of the therapists who are on hand and select the one who feels like the best fit. MDLive’s website and mobile app both offer phone and video chat options for sessions.
- The availability of psychiatric services at MDLive is one benefit of receiving online therapy through them. Therefore, a client can quickly connect with a licensed doctor who can prescribe medication if that client needs it to help them manage their mental health care needs.
- The option to use health insurance to offset the cost, where available, is another benefit of MDLive’s online therapy services. Before making an appointment, clients should make sure that MDLive’s teletherapy services are covered by their insurance company.
- MDLive’s services are among the priciest on our list, costing $108 per session. Sessions may have a lower copay for those with insurance, but this cost may be prohibitive for those without insurance.
- MDLive does not offer therapy clients the option to message or connect with their therapist in between appointments, in contrast to some of the other subscription-based services on our list.
People who belong to certain underrepresented groups may seek counseling that is tailored especially for them, for both the problems that personally affect them and those that they face as members of a minority group. The LGBTQ community has Pride Counseling available to them.
This online mental health counselling service aims to offer accessible, accepting therapy to all people. Anxiety, depression, relationships, family, identity, and other issues can all be addressed by the network of licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists that Pride Counseling has access to.
- Pride Counseling’s primary benefit is its emphasis on the LGBTQ+ community. This group is disproportionately affected by mental health problems and might encounter prejudice or misinterpretation in conventional therapy settings.
- Pride Counseling also permits user anonymity, removing yet another barrier that might keep some LGBTQ+ people from seeking treatment.
- The platform’s refusal to accept any health insurance to cover the cost of services is Pride Counseling’s main drawback.
- The absence of psychiatrists at Pride Counseling is a second drawback, as it forces clients who might require prescription drugs to manage their mental health needs to seek those services elsewhere
Is online counseling worth it?
Depending on where you live and whether your insurance covers it, typical therapy appointments can cost anywhere between $30 and $250 for each session. By comparison, apps like BetterHelp and TalkSpace start at $40 and $65 per week, respectively. Online communication may be more comfortable for certain people.
When not to use online therapy?
Trying to use a digital service for those who lack confidence in technology or computers may make them feel more anxious. Online therapy is typically not as effective for treating more serious mental illnesses like psychosis.
Does online therapy work for anxiety?
Online therapy has been shown to be useful in treating anxiety, sadness, and trauma, according to research. Patients who receive treatment in person or online report similar levels of patient satisfaction, and the more sessions a person attends, regardless of the mode of therapy, the better the results.
Can online therapy diagnose you?
Yes! Patients are seen by online psychiatrists through video, phone, text, or a mix of these methods. In order to help you feel better, they can diagnose mental and behavioral health disorders and prescribe medicine.
What happens during online Counselling?
Typically, services are provided through email, live chat, and video conferencing. Some patients combine traditional psychotherapy or dietary counseling with internet counseling. Online counseling is being used more frequently by clients in place of in-person sessions.
BetterHelp is at the top of our list of the best online mental health counseling services because it is the business that will appeal to most people who use online therapy. According to the results of our user survey, BetterHelp’s subscribers are generally very happy with the therapy they receive from the company, and the subscription fee is reasonable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I talk to someone for free?
The Top 5 Free Therapy Chat Apps for 2023
- eTherapyPro— Best Overall.
- 7 Cups— Best for Peer Support.
- Free Online Therapy— Best for a Free Assessment.
- BlahTherapy— Best for Emotional Support.
- TalkwithStranger!— Best for Anonymity.
How much does online therapy cost on average?
Online counseling costs differ, just like they do for in-person therapy. While BetterHelp charges between $60 and $90 per week, Talkspace charges as little as $65 per week.
Can you get diagnosed by a therapist online?
Yes! Patients are seen by online psychiatrists through video, phone, text, or a mix of these methods. To help you feel better, they can diagnose mental and behavioral health disorders and prescribe medicine.
How do I choose an online therapist?
Be Clear About Your Expectations for an Online Therapy Experience.
- Understanding the issues you want to discuss with your therapist.
- Sessions’ length and frequency.
- Insurance coverage for online therapy (or not)
- Selecting a therapist based on gender.
- Most popular psychotherapy techniques.