BetterHelp vs Brightside (Who has the best features?)

This review will discuss the different features and services that are offered in BetterHelp and Brightside. While both these platforms are fully dedicated to the treatment of mental health conditions, BetterHelp does so through therapy only and Brightside offers therapy as well as psychiatry services.

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The following table will show you the main features that are available in BetterHelp and Brightside. It will also depict the several differences that exist between these two mental health platforms.

 Feature  BetterHelp Brightside
 Types of services  Therapy Therapy and Psychiatry
 Pricing  Min 240 USD Min 299 USD
 Payment options   All major credit cards, Paypal,HSA, FSA All major credit cards,HSA, FSA
 Insurance   Unavailable Available
 Age group  13 years and above 18 years and above

BetterHelp

Pros

  • BetterHelp can be used from anywhere
  • It offers various formats of therapy
  • Group sessions are also available

Cons

  • Messaging therapy may not be for everyone
  • Prices are not always transparent
  • It cannot be covered through insurance

Brightside

Pros

  • Brightside offers therapy as well as psychiatry services
  • It can be covered by insurance
  • Skill-building lessons are available

Cons

  • It does not have audio or phone sessions
  • It only offers therapy for individuals
  • It does not have group sessions

About BetterHelp

BetterHelp was launched in 2013 as a platform for online therapy. Alan Matas founded the platform after facing issues when he sought out therapy for his own mental health needs. Through BetterHelp, millions have been able to easily access high quality therapy from the comfort of their own homes.

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Picture credit: BetterHelp

In BetterHelp, users can find features for individual therapy, teens counseling and even couples therapy. Group therapy sessions are also available and these are absolutely free for the patrons of BetterHelp. The therapy sessions can be conducted through a variety of formats like live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions.

Unlimited messaging is another feature that is available in BetterHelp and users can use this through formats like text messages, audio messages and video messages. BetterHelp is definitely affordable and also allows payments through HSA and FSA accounts. In addition to this, the platform also offers financial assistance for many users.

About Brightside

Brightside was founded in 2019 as a solution for the crumbling mental health care system. The main aim of Brightside was to create a space where individuals can get easy access to therapy as well as medications for their mental health conditions. Thus, Brightside becomes a one-stop shop for any type of need related to mental health.

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Picture credit: Brightside

The psychiatry services in this platform are delivered by licensed and certified mental health professionals. The medications are delivered to the home of the user directly. The therapy services can be conducted through texts and live video sessions that users can choose from according to their conveniences.

Brightside focuses on the overall development of the individual and thus offers plenty of skill-building lessons and exercises through which the person improves as a while. The platform is known to be highly affordable especially through the extensive insurance coverage that is made available through in-network providers.

 

Best features of BetterHelp

BetterHelp has an extensive array of services and features that can be superb for anyone who is looking for a platform that offers mental health care services. In this section, we will look at some of the best features of BetterHelp that users have thoroughly enjoyed.

BetterHelp offers various formats of live therapy

The live therapy sessions in BetterHelp are offered through various formats that users can choose from according to their needs and preferences. The platform not only offers live audio sessions and live video sessions but also has the option of live chats. The live sessions in BetterHelp are for a minimum of 30 minutes but can be extended up to an hour.

It has unlimited messaging

Unlimited messaging is another great feature that BetterHelp offers its users. Through this feature, the user can send any number of messages to their therapists at any time. The messages can also be sent in various formats like text messages, audio messages and even video messages according to the convenience of the user.

It offers couples therapy sessions

Couples therapy sessions are also offered in BetterHelp. This service is offered through the sister website of BetterHelp, ReGain. Online couples therapy can take place through live video or audio sessions. The partners can also converse continually with their therapist through the means of a group chat.

Picture credit: BetterHelp

It has group sessions

BetterHelp is definitely one of the few platforms that offer group sessions. The group sessions in BetterHelp cover more than 20 different topics related to mental health and mental illness and are conducted about once a week. These are called ‘groupinars’ in BetterHelp and are free of cost to any user of the platform.

It offers counseling for teens

Teens counseling is also available in BetterHelp. This feature is for those adolescents between the ages of 13 years to 17 years. To use this feature, the individual must provide parental consent. Teens counseling can be great for those adolescents who are having a tough time navigating peer pressure, school problems and even familial issues.

BetterHelp offers financial assistance

While BetterHelp does not have insurance coverage, it certainly does its best to make the services affordable by providing financial assistance. The financial assistance can reduce the costs by up to 25 percent and is available for those who are unemployed, disabled or have veteran status. It can also be availed by those who are furloughed due to the pandemic.

It has many therapy resources

The therapy sessions in BetterHelp are also made more effective through several resources. Users can enjoy many digital worksheets and templates that can be useful for their interventions. Online journaling is another feature that is available in BetterHelp. The great thing about this is that it sends the user regular prompts to write in it.

 

It brings a better client-therapist fit

The rapport between the client and the therapist is one of the most fundamental factors of therapy. This rapport is improved through the use of a smart algorithm through which the data provided by the user is matched with a compatible therapist. The user is also free to choose their therapist by sifting through the directory.

 

It is very safe and secure

Safety and security are made extensively effective in BetterHelp. The data and identity of the user is protected through strong firewalls and multi-step authentications. Users can also create their profile with the help of a nickname so that their identity is further protected. Furthermore, the online nature of the therapy sessions brings in more security for the users.

Users enjoy high levels of convenience

The users of BetterHelp enjoy plenty of convenience and comfort. All the services and features of the platform can be accessed and used completely online. This proves fantastic for those who are unable to leave the house often due to a disability or some other reason. This can also be great for those who live in remote areas which may not have many licensed therapists.

Best features of Brightside

Brightside is definitely one of the most sought after platforms to receive mental health care in. Some of the superb features of Brightside have been explored in the points below.

Brightside offers a number of plans to choose from

In Brightside, the user can choose from several different plans. Users can access only therapy through the ‘Evidence-based Therapy’ plan and can have exclusive use of psychiatry services through the ‘Medication’ plan. Therapy and psychiatry services are offered through the ‘Medication +Therapy’ plan of Brightside.

The therapy process is made transparent

The therapy process itself is made very transparent in Brightside. Once the user has completed the evaluation or the assessment, their expected progress will be visibly shown. The user thus, is very clear about the path their treatment will take. This is not only available for the therapy services but also the psychiatry services of Brightside.

There are various formats of therapy

The live therapy sessions in Brightside are offered in various formats that users can choose from. The most popular format of live therapy in Brightside is the video sessions and this is for the duration of 30 minutes each. Users can also opt to communicate with their providers through chatting that can be done synchronously or asynchronously.

Additional sessions can be added

While the live sessions have thirty-minute blocks, users who feel that they need more time with their therapist can always add more sessions to their plans. These additional sessions, however, come at an extra cost. The therapy sessions can be conducted through video or live chat formats depending on the needs of the user.

Progress tracking is available

The user can also track their progress in Brightside. This feature in Brightside is called ‘Your Path’ and shows the user the progress that they have made and also the expected progress to follow. The information in this feature is made available to the user as well as the mental health care provider.

There are a number of skill-building lessons

Brightside focuses on improving the overall persona of the user and not only in alleviating the symptoms of their mental health conditions. For this, the platform offers a number of skill-building lessons through which healthy habits like regular exercise, intuitive eating and even self-confidence and self-esteem can be improved.

Brightside is very affordable

The platform is very affordable and this is only increased through the application of insurance coverage. The platform has tied up with in-network providers like Cigna which ensure that mental health care becomes a lot more accessible and affordable for millions.

The psychiatry services are very convenient

Brightside offers not only therapy but also psychiatry services. The great thing about these psychiatry services is that the medications can be shipped to the home of the user and also comes in discrete packaging. The medications can also be shipped to the local pharmacy of the user and can also be covered through insurance.

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Picture credit: Brightside

Pricing of BetterHelp

BetterHelp offers therapy at very affordable rates. However, the prices of therapy sessions in this platform can slightly differ based on the location of the user and the availability of therapists in their region. The therapy services in BetterHelp costs $60 to $90 per week and this is billed every month.

Pricing of Brightside

The prices of Brightside mainly depend on the type of plan that the user is opting for. The prices of the various plans and also the different features that are available here have been explored in the section below.

Medication plan

The Medication plan of Brightside costs the user $95 per month. Through this plan, the user can consult a psychiatrist from anywhere and also understand the progress they are expected to take. The medications are delivered to the home of the user directly or can be sent to the local pharmacy if they wish to.

Evidence-based Therapy plan

The Evidence-based Therapy plan in Brightside costs the user a price of $299 per month. In this plan, the user will get four live video sessions per month for the duration of thirty minutes. They can also communicate continuously with their therapists through unlimited messaging. Additional therapy sessions can also be purchased for $59 per session.

Medication + Therapy plan

The Medication + Therapy plan is for those who require both therapy as well as psychiatry services for their mental health conditions. This plan is for a price of $349 per month. In this plan, the user has access to a therapist and also a psychiatrist. The communication between the user and the providers is through unlimited messaging or live video sessions.

 

Signing up for BetterHelp

To sign up for BetterHelp, the user can use the website or download and install the app. Once the assessment has been completed, the platform uses an algorithm to match the user with the right therapist. When the matching process has been completed, the user will be intimated via email and can start therapy in a couple of days.

 

Signing up for Brightside

To sign up for the therapy or the psychiatry services in Brightside, the user will have to go to the website and take the assessment. The platform will openly show the results of the evaluation and also the expected progress. In the next step, the user will consult with a provider who will show them the treatment plan and guide them through the process.

Tips for using BetterHelp

BetterHelp is definitely pretty easy and very simple to use, even for those who are new to the field of online therapy itself. Some tips to help new users of BetterHelp have been explained below.

  • BetterHelp offers several formats of live therapy sessions, including live chats. Explore these at your leisure and find the format that suits your conveniences the best. Many users also exclusively use the live chats for therapy and have found that it can be useful, especially for those who are introverted in nature.
  • Just like the live therapy sessions, BetterHelp also offers many formats of messaging. These can be used for not only communication but also for venting and expression. Some users also leave audio messages or text messages as reminders of talking points that they want to cover during a live therapy session.
  • To help you focus better during your live therapy sessions, you can always ensure that you have a dedicated space for this in your home. This can be a quiet corner of your bedroom, an isolated stairwell or even a friend’s house. Using the same space for all your live therapy can also help in making it a versatile self-care spot.
  • If you want to start journaling but don’t know how to do so, you can use the online journaling feature that BetterHelp offers. The online journaling feature in BetterHelp will regularly prompt you so that you understand the process and create your own pace.

Tips for using Brightside

Brightside is popular for only the high quality of mental health care services, but also the high ease of use that patrons can experience here. Some tips that users will find beneficial have been elaborated in the points below.

  • Brightside offers weekly video sessions for the duration of thirty minutes each. You can always add more video sessions if you wish to. If you feel that thirty minutes are insufficient, you can write down your thoughts and feelings beforehand so that you make the best use of your time.
  • You can also maintain a therapy journal where you can write down your goals that you want to achieve through your therapy sessions. Having realistic and achievable goals will help you be more driven for your treatment and thus increase the effectiveness of your therapy sessions.
  • Brightside offers an extensive collection of self-improvement lessons. These skill-building lessons can provide information galore about various ways through which you can build healthy habits. You can ask your therapist more about these so that they can match your therapy goals to the right skill-building lesson for you.

Personal experiences in BetterHelp

BetterHelp is one of the most popular platforms for online therapy today. Some of the experiences that users have had in this platform have been explored in the points below.

  • A large percentage of the users of BetterHelp have felt that the therapy services are more accessible and definitely more affordable than traditional therapy settings. Users have also found the mental health professionals in the platform to be empathetic and highly knowledgeable.
  • Most users of the platform have felt that BetterHelp provides extensive convenience and comfort, especially since they can choose their therapists by themselves. The algorithm for the matching process in the platform has also been found to be effective in bringing the right therapist to the user.
  • However, many individuals have complained about the lack of transparency in pricing of the therapy services in BetterHelp. Since the costs highly depend on the location of the user and the availability of practicing therapists, the prices can differ from user to user and are mentioned only toward the end of the sign-up process.

Personal experiences in Brightside

Brightside has received mostly positive reviews from its users. Some of their experiences have been described in the points below.

  • Most users have loved the progress tracking feature of the platform called ‘YourPath’. This has helped them better understand the scope of their treatment and also take more charge of their mental health.
  • A large percentage of the users of Brightside have felt that the psychiatry services of the platform are very professional and also very convenient as the medications are delivered directly to their homes.
  • However, some users have complained that the duration of live therapy sessions in Brightside is too short since it only allows a maximum of thirty minutes.

Conclusion

While BetterHelp and Brightside are definitely two big names in the mental health care industry, they differ in only one main aspect, i.e. psychiatry services. BetterHelp does not offer psychiatry services and focuses exclusively on therapy. On the other hand, Brightside offers therapy as well as psychiatry services on the same platform.

BetterHelp can be great for those who only want access to therapy in a comfortable and convenient manner. The platform offers plenty of features for this aspect and users can have their therapy sessions in several formats, like audio sessions, video sessions and even live chatting. Furthermore, unlimited messaging is also available on this platform.

Brightside offers therapy as well as psychiatry services for its users. Both these services can be easily covered through insurance and thus are highly affordable for everyone. The medications can also be delivered directly to the home of the user. The platform also has plenty of skill-building lessons so that the person develops holistically.

 

Frequently asked questions:

Can I message my therapist on BetterHelp?

Yes, you can message your therapist on BetterHelp. The platform offers unlimited messaging for its users which means that they can send any number of messages to their therapists at any time of the day. The messages can also be sent as text messages, audio messages and even video messages depending on the needs of the user.

Is BetterHelp religious?

BetterHelp offers faith-based counseling and Christian counseling for those who require it. The BetterHelp therapist directory has numerous therapists from various backgrounds and experiences who users can choose from according to their needs and preferences.

How many live sessions do you get with BetterHelp?

In BetterHelp, the user has access to two live sessions in a month. These live sessions have a time limit of thirty minutes but can be extended up to an hour depending on the wish of the user. The live sessions can be conducted through live audio sessions, live video sessions and even live chats.

What does Brightside prescribe for anxiety?

For anxiety, Brightside prescribes SSRIs and SNRIs. The platform only offers non-addictive and non-stimulant types of medications and controlled substances like Xanax and Ritalin cannot be prescribed here.

Does Brightside treat Bipolar?

Yes, Brightside treats Bipolar through the user of lamotrigine that has been proven to decrease the frequency and intensity of mood swings. In addition to medication, those who are suffering from Bipolar disorder can also make use of the therapy services and the skill-building lessons in the platform.

Can Brightside prescribe Adderall?

No, Brightside cannot prescribe Adderall or any type of controlled substances like Xanax or Ritalin.

If you like this article, please post your comments and questions in the space below.

Citations

https://www.insider.com/facebook-psychiatrist-brightside-treats-anxiety-depression-2020-2
https://www.businessinsider.com/tried-brightside-app-online-therapy-mental-health-pandemic-burnout-2021-7
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/brightside-health
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210622005223/en/Brightside%E2%80%99s-Telepsychiatry-Platform-Joins-Cigna%E2%80%99s-Behavioral-Health-Network
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BetterHelp
https://magellanascend.com/Content/View/16828
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/betterhelp

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