Cerebral vs BetterHelp (Who should you choose?)

In this article, we will be comparing the features of two mental health care giants, Cerebral and BetterHelp. Both of them provide excellent online therapy services and have been catering to millions of users put together. However, there are certain differences between Cerebral and BetterHelp that can make either one a better choice for anyone.

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The table below will show the main features that are offered in Cerebral as well as BetterHelp. It will show you the various differences between these two platforms.

 Feature  Cerebral  BetterHelp
 Types of services  Therapy and Psychiatry Therapy
 Pricing  Min 85 USD Min 240 USD
 Payment options   All major credit or debit cards, HSA, FSA All major credit cards, Paypal,HSA, FSA
 Insurance   Available Unavailable
 Age group  18 years and above 13 years and above

Cerebral

Pros

  • Cerebral offers insurance coverage
  • It has therapy and psychiatry services
  • It has care counseling features

Cons

  • It does not have group therapy sessions
  • It does not have couples therapy or teens therapy
  • Certain medications are not available in all the states

 

BetterHelp

Pros

  • BetterHelp offers couples therapy and teens therapy
  • It offers support group features
  • It provides financial aid

Cons  

  • It does not have insurance coverage
  • It is not transparent about the costs
  • It does not have psychiatry services

About Cerebral

Cerebral was founded by Kyle Robertson in 2020 after he faced many challenges while seeking mental health care for his own needs. This encouraged him to create a platform wherein anyone can quickly and easily access mental health services. Cerebral, or Get Cerebral, has served more than 100,000 patients since its founding.

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Picture credit: Cerebral

In this platform, users can find therapy services as well as psychiatry services. These are provided individually as well as in a combo plan that the user can choose as per their needs. In addition to therapy and medications, users can also enjoy care counseling which is a part of Cerebral’s collaborative care model.

Both these services are eligible for insurance coverage through a large network of providers that the platform has put together. Users can also choose from several formats or modes of communication and live sessions in the platform. To add to the convenience, Cerebral also delivers the medication right to the doorstep of the user.

 

About BetterHelp

BetterHelp was founded in 2013 by Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier as a platform for online therapy that can be afforded by anyone and everyone. Through BetterHelp, millions of users have found their dream therapist and have overcome the challenges posed by their mental health conditions.

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Picture credit: BetterHelp

BetterHelp not only offers great solutions for individual therapy, but also has features for couples therapy and teens counseling. Furthermore, there are many options for the live therapy sessions in the platform. Users can also send any number of messages to their therapists at any time of the day to which they are guaranteed responses.

The platform is very affordable and while it does not provide insurance coverage, it compensates by providing financial aid for its users. This can be availed by those who are unemployed, currently studying or even those who have been furloughed due to the pandemic.

Best features of Cerebral

Users in Cerebral can enjoy a large collection of useful features and advantages that the platform provides. The very best of these have been explored in the points below.

Cerebral has excellent therapy and psychiatry services

Therapy as well as psychiatry services can be easily availed in Cerebral. The therapy or coaching sessions are delivered by licensed therapists who are also called behavioral coaches in the platform. The prescribers are experienced psychiatrists who are knowledgeable enough to cater to a variety of mental health conditions.

It follows a collaborative care model

Cerebral follows a collaborative care model for its mental health care services. The collaborative care model is fairly new and has been found to be very effective for improvement in the mental health of the patient. As per this model, the patient is taken care of by a team of mental health professionals rather than just one.

It offers care counselors to all users

Care counseling is an integral part of the collaborative care model that Cerebral follows. Care counselors are mental health professionals, but mostly not licensed therapists. These care counselors provide emotional support and professional guidance to the patient and also train them in various coping strategies and behavioral techniques.

It can be used easily

The access to mental health care through Cerebral is pretty easy and quickly done. All that the user is required to do is to fill out a basic questionnaire, consult with a mental health provider and is then matched with a therapist/prescriber or both and can then commence their treatment in a matter of days.

The platform is HIPAA compliant

HIPAA compliance is an important factor in any mental health care platform. This HIPAA compliance is taken seriously in Cerebral and thus the platform has incorporated security features like end to end encryptions, dual-step authentications and strong firewalls to protect the identity and information of the user.

It has several plans to choose from

There are several plans in Cerebral that users can choose from according to their needs and requirements. Users can opt for only therapy, only medications or both, therapy as well as psychiatry services. All of these plans also offer the user the feature of care counseling and unlimited messaging with the care team.

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Picture credit: Cerebral

It offers a wide range of medications

There are a wide range of medications that are available in Cerebral. Prescribers in the platform often choose non-stimulant substances as the first line of action and can prescribe medications like antidepressants, SSRIs and SNRIs. However, medications for certain conditions like ADHD and PTSD cannot be availed in Cerebral in all the states of the US.

Cerebral can provide documents and letters

The platform also provides documents and letters for those who require it. Here, the user can seek certificates for issues like disability or even work leaves. Furthermore, Emotional Support Animal letters can also be availed through the platform. However, the decision is mainly up to the provider with whom the patient is consulting.

It can be easily covered by insurance

Insurance coverage is another main advantage that users of Cerebral can enjoy. Insurance coverage is made available through several in-network insurance providers like Cigna, Aetna, Optum, Blue Cross BlueShield and even Tricare. This applies to the therapy services as well as the psychiatry services in the platform.

 

It allows various modes of live sessions

Users can choose to have their live sessions in Cerebral through phone calls or even live video sessions. This grants them a much higher level of convenience that is often not found in traditional mental health care settings.

Best features of BetterHelp

BetterHelp is certainly one of the best platforms in the world today for online therapy and mental health care. Users will be able to appreciate a large collection of beneficial features, such as,

BetterHelp offers various formats of therapy

In BetterHelp, users can experience therapy through various formats. In this platform, the various live therapy sessions offered are live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. The live sessions are held for a period of 30 to 45 minutes and this can be extended up to an hour depending on the availability of the therapist.

It has couples therapy

Couples therapy is also offered in BetterHelp. The partners can communicate with the therapist through chatting or even live sessions as per their preferences. The online nature of couples therapy makes it easy for even those who are very busy to seek professional help to improve their relationships. This feature is offered through its sister site, ReGain.

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Picture credit: BetterHelp

It offers therapy for teens

Teens counseling is another feature that is offered in BetterHelp. This is for those who are from the ages of 13 years to 17 years of age. Counseling or therapy for teenagers becomes important especially as this age group often deals with high levels of stress and anxiety. Teenagers often face stress due to factors like school, peer pressure, relationships and even family.

It provides group sessions

Group sessions are also provided in BetterHelp. These group sessions cover more than 20 different topics related to mental health and mental illness. Users can attend these completely anonymously. The sessions are conducted in the form of webinars called ‘groupinars’ and are delivered free of cost.

It allows unlimited messaging

Unlimited messaging is a very useful feature offered in BetterHelp. Users can send any number of messages to their therapists at any time from anywhere. The messages can also be sent in various formats, like text messages, audio messages and even video messages. The unlimited messaging feature gives the user continuous contact with their therapist.

BetteHelp provides financial aid

BetterHelp is definitely a lot more affordable when we compare it to in-person therapy sessions. To those who are finding it difficult to afford the subscription. BetterHelp offers financial aid that can be renewed every three months. This financial aid or assistance is for those who are unemployed, disabled or have veteran status.

It brings a better client-therapist fit

The relationship between the client and the therapist is very important for the therapy to work. BetterHelp takes this very seriously by using an algorithm to match the data provided by the user to a compatible therapist. Users can also choose their therapist by themselves and can switch whenever they wish to.

 

It allows online journaling

BetterHelp has an online journaling feature which the user can fill up whenever they feel like it. This online journal also gently prompts the user to write in it frequently. The contents of this journal can be shared with the therapist who may then give pointers or use the information in therapy sessions.

Users are promised more security here

The security and privacy of the user are highly safeguarded in BetterHelp as the platform is completely HIPAA compliant. The chats are encrypted and the platform is protected through strong firewalls. Furthermore, users can also use a nickname for their therapy sessions and can protect their identity even more.

Pricing of Cerebral

The costs of Cerebral depend widely on the type of plan that the user is opting for. The various plans offered by Cerebral, their costs and their features, have been described here.

The Medication + Care Counseling plan

The Medication + Care Counseling plan costs users $85 per month and the platform is offering a discounted rate of $30 for the first month for new users. In this plan, the user has access to an experienced prescriber for medications. They will also be able to communicate constantly with a care counselor who will train them in various behavioral techniques like mindfulness.

 

The Coaching plan

The Coaching plan of Cerebral costs $145 per month and the platform is offering a discounted rate of $59 for the first month for new users. The Coaching plan allows the user weekly sessions with a behavioral coach. These sessions can be conducted through phone sessions or video sessions. The user also has unlimited messaging with their coach.

 

The Medication + Coaching plan

The Medication + Coaching plan in Cerebral costs $195 per month and the platform is offering a discounted rate of $79 for the first month. In this plan, the user will have weekly sessions with their coach and also have their medications delivered to their home directly. The progress of the user is regularly tracked by both the prescriber and the therapist, thus increasing the level of care.

Pricing of BetterHelp

BetterHelp has often come under fire for not being transparent about its pricing. This is mainly because the costs of the therapy sessions in BetterHelp can depend on the location of the user and the availability of therapists in their area. Therapy in BetterHelp can cost $60 to $90 per week and this is billed every month.

Signing up for Cerebral

To sign up for the mental health care services in Cerebral, the user simply needs to complete the short assessment given in the platform. The user will then consult with a provider who will further evaluate them. The next step is the matching process after which the user can expect to start treatment in a matter of days.

Signing up for BetterHelp

The signing up process in BetterHelp is pretty easy and very quick. The user will have to complete an initial assessment where they will need to mention the type of therapist they want to work with. BetterHelp uses an algorithm for the matching process and this is done within 24 hours of signing up.

Tips for using Cerebral

Cerebral is a very user-friendly platform. However, the number of features that are available here can be intimidating to those who are new to the world of online mental health care. Some tips to help new users of Cerebral have been listed below.

  • Cerebral allows the user unlimited messaging with the coach or therapist. Through this feature, you can not only communicate with your coach at any time, but also use the space for healthy expression and venting which can be great for your self-care.
  • Do check out the blog in Cerebral. This area gives a lot of input for different ways of improving mental health and combating mental illness. Users can find many gems in these articles and utilize them in their daily self-care routines.
  • If you think an emotional support animal can be great for your mental health, do discuss this with your provider. The platform can provide you with an ESA letter which can help you procure a friendly animal for your mental health needs.

Tips for using BetterHelp

BetterHelp offers an extravagant array of features for the improvement of mental health and emotional status. Some tips or suggestions to help users better their experience in BetterHelp have been listed as follows.

  • BetterHelp allows mainly three types of live therapy sessions in the form of live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. No matter what type of live session you are opting for, ensure that you are in a quiet dedicated spot. This will allow you to concentrate better on your therapy.
  • You can also choose the right time for your live therapy sessions. Select a time slot where you will not be required for any other commitment and can fully focus on your mental health.
  • Your therapist may not be able to determine your body language fully since the sessions are conducted online. To counter this, you may want to start being more expressive and articulate of your inner most thoughts and feelings. If you are finding it hard to do this impromptu, you can always write them down before your therapy session.
  • BetterHelp also has an online journaling feature which will remind you often to write in it. You can use this often and also share its contents with your therapist if you wish to.

Personal experiences in Cerebral

The Cerebral app has a rating of 4.7 stars in Apple apps and 4.3 stars in Google Play store. According to the thousands of reviews left by users, it is safe to say that Cerebral definitely makes improvements to mental health. Some experiences that users have had in this platform have been described below.

  • Most users in Cerebral have enjoyed the psychiatry services in the platform. They have also mainly liked the fact that the platform delivers the medications to their homes directly. Many of them have even had their dosages reduced by the prescribers in the platform.
  • Users have felt that the platform is very easy to use and makes the process of mental health care itself very easy and quick. Some users have been able to have their first session within a couple of hours of signing up.
  • Some users have complained that the customer support of the platform is very slow and completely unresponsive sometimes.
  • Many users in Cerebral have mentioned that the app itself is very frustrating to use and can hang often.

Personal experiences in BetterHelp

The BetterHelp app has a rating of 4.8 stars in Apple apps and 4.7 stars in Google Play store. Most users have had only positive things to say about their experience in this platform. Some of their experiences have been described here.

  • A large percentage of the users in BetterHelp have enjoyed the flexibility that the platform provides. Users who have very busy schedules have felt that they can attend therapy sessions easily despite their busy work lives.
  • Some users have complained that the platform is not open about its pricing and only shows the actual costs in the later part of the sign-up process. This has made some users feel like they are being coerced into subscribing for the platform.
  • Most users of the therapy services in BetterHelp have felt that their mental health has improved. The platform also offers many features and services like group sessions, worksheets and online journaling which users have tremendously enjoyed.
  • A few users have complained about the unlimited messaging feature in BetterHelp that the therapist has been unresponsive or has offered too many generic responses.

Conclusion

Cerebral and BetterHelp are definitely two great options for anyone who is seeking mental health care services online. While Cerebral offers therapy and psychiatry services in the same space, BetterHelp focuses only on therapy and provides a wide array of solutions and features for this matter alone.

Cerebral has three main plans which users can choose from depending on whether the user requires only therapy, only medications or both. The medications are delivered directly to the home of the user. The greatest advantage of using Cerebral is the easy insurance coverage managed through a tie-up with several in-network providers.

BetterHelp is a fantastic option for anyone who is looking for only therapy. The therapy is delivered through several formats and the user can also send any number of messages to their therapists at any point of time. In addition to therapy for individuals, the platform can be used for couples therapy, teens counseling and even group sessions.

Frequently asked questions:

What is the monthly cost of BetterHelp?

The therapy services in BetterHelp can cost users $60 to $90 per week and this is billed every four weeks. The cost of therapy in BetterHelp mainly depends on the location of the user and the availability of therapists in the area.

How long are BetterHelp sessions?

The therapy sessions in BetterHelp are conducted for a period of 30 – 45 minutes. The session can also be extended up to an hour, but this depends on the decision of the therapist. The live sessions in BetterHelp can be of various formats like live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions that the user can choose depending on their preferences.

Is BetterHelp covered by insurance?

No, BetterHelp is not covered by insurance but the costs may be reimbursed if the bill is shown to some insurance providers. While the platform does not allow insurance coverage, it provides financial assistance or financial aid that is reserved for those who are unemployed, disabled or have veteran status. It also extends to those who have been furloughed due to the pandemic.

Does BetterHelp accept HSA?

Yes, BetterHelp allows users to pay for the therapy sessions through Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Using these accounts can provide certain tax exemptions for the users.

Does BetterHelp provide medication?

No, BetterHelp does not provide medication for its users. Instead, it only offers therapy services. To seek medications for their mental health conditions, users may need to use another online platform or consult their provider in-person.

What kind of medication does Cerebral prescribe?

Cerebral mostly only prescribes non-controlled substances for the treatment of mental health conditions. In Cerebral, the patient can be prescribed antidepressants, SSRIs or SNRs depending on the needs of the user.

Does Cerebral treat ADHD?

Yes, Cerebral treat ADHD. However, certain medications like Adderall which is commonly used for the treatment of ADHD cannot be prescribed in this platform as it is categorized as a controlled substance. Instead, Cerebral may prescribe other types of medications which are non-stimulant in nature for the treatment of ADHD.

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

Citations

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/cerebral
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-10/mental-health-startup-cerebral-nabs-1-2-billion-valuation
https://pitchbook.com/profiles/company/433351-45
https://craft.co/cerebral
https://kylerobertson41.medium.com/why-we-launched-cerebral-a-mental-health-telemedicine-company-f6593ff22f2a
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BetterHelp
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/betterhelp
https://pitchbook.com/profiles/company/101072-26
https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/4/17932862/betterhelp-app-youtube-sponsorship-controversy-explained

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