Disclaimer: We evaluate the companies on our list independently, but we may receive a referral fee on the services featured on this page. Review our editorial process and full disclaimer here for more information.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and is closely tied to how our bodies perform and function. While mental health issues are prevalent in our society, it’s not uncommon for people to de-prioritize their mental health, because of stigma, financial and time constraints, or lack of access to quality care.

Telehealth services are aiming to change that by bringing mental health care directly to patients via their computers or smart devices.

There are many on-demand mental health and therapy services to choose from; we narrowed the list to give you our recommendations for the best online mental health and therapy on-demand services available.

The Best Online Mental Health & Therapy On-Demand Services

BetterHelp — Best Overall

BetterHelp tops our list of the best on-demand therapy services thanks to its flexible communication methods, affordable pricing, and team of over 12,000 dedicated, trained mental health professionals.

Talkspace — Best for Convenient Communication

When it comes to accessible, convenient care, Talkspace is an ideal platform, as its primary therapy delivery method is unlimited audio, video, and text messages between clients and their therapists.

Amwell — Best for Insurance Coverage

Amwell makes therapy accessible and affordable to many, as this full-service telehealth platform accepts insurance from many major providers, including Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare.

MDLive — Best for Medication Management

MDLive provides both counseling and psychiatry services, which means that in addition to therapy, members also have access to physicians who can prescribe medication if the circumstances call for it.

Pride Counseling — Best for LGBTQ+

Pride Counseling’s therapists specialize in working with members of the LGBTQ+ population, in order to provide discreet, affordable, and convenient care for the unique needs of this community.

How We Chose the Best Online Mental Health & Therapy On-Demand Services

Online mental health and therapy services provide the same type of competent, compassionate care as their in-person counterparts. Therefore, for this list, we focused on evaluating the criteria that make online therapy services unique and convenient.

Because pricing for these services varies depending on factors like insurance and subscription plans, we did not factor in cost, instead selecting services that fit a range of budgets.

Communication methods

Because on-demand therapy services are all about convenience and creating connection, we looked for platforms that give users a variety of secure, simple ways to communicate with their therapists, including phone calls, video chats, instant messaging, and more.

Specialties available

We sought services that offer treatment for a range of specialties, like anxiety, depression, grief counseling, eating disorders, addiction, and more, as well as those that serve specific populations, like couples, teens, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Patient choice

Choosing a therapist is a personal process, as this must be an individual with whom you feel comfortable and can build trust. We focused on services that have tools to match patients with an appropriate counselor, and give patients the option to switch counselors if they don’t feel it’s a good fit.

The Top 5 Online Mental Health & Therapy On-Demand Services

BetterHelp

betterhelp

Since its launch in 2013, BetterHelp has been used by nearly 700,000 clients by offering access to 5,000 licensed, credential therapists that can help with issues like stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, grief, relationships, and more.

BetterHelp’s platform is straightforward. Users sign up, and complete a brief questionnaire about their history and the issues they are seeking to address. They can also note any counselor preferences, such as gender or specialization. BetterHelp will match clients with a counselor, who they can connect with via phone calls, video chats, or live chat.

BetterHelp’s services also include unlimited secure messaging between patient and counselor, and an online journal, where they can share entries with their counselor if necessary. Couples and teens can access care through BetterHelp’s affiliates, Regain.us and TeenCounseling.com. BetterHelp users can access services via their website, or by downloading their mobile app.

Price Accepts Insurance Other Features
$60-$80 per visit (billed monthly) No — Mobile app
— Subscription-based service
— Multiple communication methods
— More features at BetterHelp

Pros & Cons of BetterHelp

Pros:

  • BetterHelp’s key pro is that it offers clients and their therapists multiple ways to hold their sessions, so clients can choose the communication method that is most comfortable and convenient for them. It also gives clients the opportunity to check in, ask questions, and share insights with their therapist in between sessions, for more on-demand care.
  • A good relationship between a client and their therapist is essential to a successful therapy experience. BetterHelp understands this, and allows clients to easily switch to a different therapist, no questions asked, if they are unsatisfied with their assigned therapist for any reason.
  • A BetterHelp subscription costs $60-$80 per week, depending on a client’s income. Lower weekly rates are available for those who fall into certain income brackets. Also, BetterHelp often offers discount codes for new users. Subscribers can get a free week by successfully referring others to the service.

Cons:

  • The main con of BetterHelp is that the platform does not accept any health insurance to cover the cost of services.
  • Another drawback to BetterHelp is that there are no psychiatrists available through this platform. Therefore, if individuals need prescription medications to help them manage their mental health care needs, they will have to seek those services elsewhere.
  • BetterHelp may not be an appropriate source of care for all circumstances; for example, it does not fulfill the requirements for court-ordered therapy.

What Customers Are Saying

Many BetterHelp users have found comfort and compassion through this teletherapy service. “I’ve been working with my Better Help counselor for ten months and it’s been wonderful,” says one user. “She’s extremely knowledgeable, professional, and caring. I also like that there are so many ways to interact with my counselor.”

Score

Ease of use: 90/100
Convenience factor: 100/100
Technology: 90/100
Personalization: 100/100
Overall score: 95/100

Talkspace

talkspace

Talkspace was one of the pioneers in the online therapy service. Since 2012, it has connected over 1 million clients with remote therapists, becoming one of the most affordable, flexible online therapy platforms.

When a new user joins, Talkspace connects them with an appropriate mental health professional from its roster of 5,000 licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family counselors, psychologists, and more. For individuals who need medication to help them with their mental health issues, Talkspace can connect them with a licensed psychiatrist with prescribing privileges.

Talkspace offers multiple tiers of plans. The most basic includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging. Live sessions are available with their mid- and top-tier plans. Talkspace also provides therapy for couples and teens.

New users can take advantage of a free consultation with a Matching Agent to learn more about the service, and provide basic information to help them match with a therapist.

Price Accepts Insurance Other Features
Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: $260/month

Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium: $316

Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate: $396

Couples Therapy: $396
Teen Therapy: $260

Yes — Mobile app
— Subscription-based service
— Couples and teen therapy
— More features at Talkspace

Pros & Cons of Talkspace

Pros:

  • Talkspace’s main pro is that most communication between clients and their therapists is done asynchronously, via text, video, and audio messages. This makes it an ideal platform for users who are in situations that prevent them from scheduling regular live sessions with their therapist.
  • Another key benefit of Talkspace is that, through partnerships with a number of U.S. health plans, the service is now covered by insurance for over 40 million Americans. Clients should check with their insurance provider to confirm that it covers telehealth services before signing up with Talkspace.
  • In addition to licensed therapists, Talkspace also employs psychiatrists, who have the authorization to write prescriptions for medications to help manage mental health needs, if they deem such treatments necessary.
  • Talkspace offers counseling services in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and others, making this an ideal therapy platform for individuals who do not speak English.

Cons:

  • While some users may like that Talkspace’s primary therapy delivery method is asynchronous messaging, others may be disappointed that live, one-on-one counseling sessions via video chat are only available with more expensive premium subscription plans.
  • Additionally, users who do take advantage of plans that include live sessions should note that live sessions are only 30 minutes, whereas most therapy sessions, whether they are in-person or online, are typically 45-50 minutes.

What Customers Are Saying

Talkspace customers like the service for making it convenient and easy to get the help they need. “I’m glad I gave Talkspace a try,” says one customer. “This app works great for me and my lifestyle, and I have an amazing psychologist who is very responsive.”

Scores

Ease of use: 90/100
Convenience factor: 90/100
Technology: 90/100
Personalization: 90/100
Overall score: 90/100

Amwell

Amwell-Therapy

Amwell is a robust telehealth platform that offers mental and behavioral healthcare as part of its menu of services.

Users can speak to a therapist on-demand, or schedule an appointment via Amwell’s website or their mobile app. Amwell’s roster of mental health professionals includes doctoral-level psychologists, and master’s-level therapists and social workers who are licensed and trained in providing interventions and treatment via telehealth.

Unlike some other services on our list, Amwell charges customers per visit, not on a subscription basis, meaning it may be a more ideal choice for those who only need mental health services on a short-term basis. Amwell charges customers a flat fee of $99 for a master’s-level therapist, and $110 for a PhD, although they also accept many major insurances, which may help decrease the cost. In addition to adult therapy, Amwell also provides child and adolescent therapy for individuals ages 10-17.

Price Accepts Insurance Other Features
Prices vary based on insurance

Master’s-level therapist: $99 per visit

PhD-level therapist: $110 per visit

Yes — Mobile app
— 24/7/365 access
— Spanish language available
— More features at Amwell

Pros & Cons of Amwell

Pros:

  • A key benefit to using Amwell for therapy services is that the platform accepts insurance from many major providers. Clients should confirm with their insurance provider that they cover Amwell’s teletherapy services prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • Another pro of AmWell’s online therapy services is that they have psychiatrists available, so users can easily connect with a doctor with prescription privileges if they need medication to help manage their mental health issues.
  • In addition to individual therapy services, Amwell also offers counseling for children and teens ages 10-17, with parental or guardian consent.

Cons:

  • Of all of the therapy services we reviewed, Amwell’s are the most expensive, with each session with a doctoral-level therapist costing $110. For individuals who have insurance that covers teletherapy, this price may be lower, but for uninsured individuals, Amwell’s price points may present an obstacle to care.
  • All Amwell therapy sessions are conducted via video chat, meaning clients must have a device with a camera and microphone. Unlike some other platforms on our list, they do not offer the option for clients to exchange messages with their therapist between sessions.

What Customers Are Saying

Amwell’s mental health services receive praise from customers for being attentive and invested. “The care exceeds what I have received from any in-office psychiatrist over the years,” writes one Amwell patient. “I feel I am being listened to and that my case is being truly considered.”

Scores

Ease of use: 90/100
Convenience factor: 95/100
Technology: 80/100
Personalization: 75/100
Overall score: 85/100

MDLive

MD-Live-Therapy

MDLive is another telehealth service that offers both physical and mental health care. Their behavioral health network includes both licensed therapists and psychiatrists, so you can get all the help you need, whether talk therapy alone is sufficient, or prescription medication is necessary.

To start therapy through MDLive, users simply have to create a free account. From there, they can browse profiles of available therapists, and choose the one they feel is the best fit. Most patients can get an appointment with their therapist within a few days, as opposed to waiting a few weeks with an in-person therapist. Sessions can be conducted via phone or video chat, through MDLive’s website or their mobile app.

MDLive therapy sessions cost a flat rate of $108 per visit, although the service accepts several major health insurances, so depending on your coverage, your copay may be less.

Price Accepts Insurance Other Features
Prices vary based on insurance

$108 per visit (w/o insurance)

Yes — Mobile app
— Desktop compatibility
— 24/7/365 access
— More features at MDLive

Pros & Cons of MDLive

Pros:

  • One of the advantages of getting online therapy through MDLive is that they also have psychiatry services available. Therefore, if a client needs medication to help them manage their mental health care needs, they can easily connect with a licensed physician who can prescribe medication.
  • Another pro of MDLive’s online therapy services is the option to use health insurance to offset the cost, where available. Clients should confirm with their insurance provider that they cover MDLive’s teletherapy services prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • MDLive’s services are available in nearly 50 languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Japanese, Farsi, and more, making this an accessible platform for clients who do not speak English.

Cons:

  • At $108 per session, MDLive’s services are among the more expensive on our list. Individuals who have insurance may pay a lower copay for sessions, but for non-insured individuals, this price point may be cost-prohibitive.
  • Unlike some of the other subscription-based services on our list, MDLive does not give therapy clients an option to message or connect with their therapist in between appointments.

What Customers Are Saying

MDLive’s therapy services are recommended by clients who have used them for a variety of mental and emotional health issues. Writes one user, “I was feeling conflicted about a relationship, and the therapist was of great help in sorting out my feelings.”

Scores

Ease of use: 90/100
Convenience factor: 90/100
Technology: 90/100
Personalization: 90/100
Overall score: 90/100

Pride Counseling

Pride-Counseling

Individuals in certain under-represented populations may seek counseling that is geared specifically towards them, and they issues that affect them personally and as part of a minority community. For members of the LGBTQ community, there’s Pride Counseling.

This online mental health service aims to provide therapy that is accepting of and accessible to everyone. Pride Counseling’s network of licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists all specialize in working with the LGBTQ community, and can address issues like anxiety, depression, relationships, family, identity, and more.

Pride Counseling functions similarly to services like BetterHelp, in that users join and complete a questionnaire to get matched with a counselor. It operates on a subscription basis, and users can communicate with their counselors via video chat, phone call, live chat, and email messages. Pride Counseling is accessible via desktop or mobile app.

Price Accepts Insurance Other Features
$60-$80 per visit (billed monthly) No — Mobile app
— Desktop compatibility
— 24/7/365 access
— More features at Pride Counseling

Pros & Cons of Pride Counseling

Pros:

  • The main pro of Pride Counseling is its special focus on the LGBTQ+ community. This is a population that is disproportionately affected by mental health issues, and may also face judgement or misunderstanding in traditional therapy spaces. Pride Counseling employs therapists who have expertise in working with the unique needs of LGBTQ+ patients, creating a safe space where people can get the care they need.
  • Pride Counseling also allows users to remain anonymous, which removes another obstacle that may present some LGBTQ+ individuals from seeking treatment.
  • Pride Counseling’s services are available on a sliding scale, based on a client’s income, which may help make it more affordable for individuals to seek care through this platform.
  • This platform also offers a variety of ways for clients and their therapists to communicate, making this a convenient way to get therapy in any situation.

Cons:

  • The main con of Pride Counseling is that the platform does not accept any health insurance to cover the cost of services.
  • Another drawback is the Pride Counseling does not have any psychiatrists on staff, meaning that clients who may need prescription medications to help them manage their mental health care needs will have to go elsewhere for those services.

What Customers Are Saying

Pride Counseling users call the service “truly life-changing.” Writes one client, “I was skeptical about how much therapy could help me, but my therapist is amazing. She helped me get in the right mindset with working towards change in my life. I can finally appreciate myself.”

Scores

Ease of use: 90/100
Convenience factor: 80/100
Technology: 90/100
Personalization: 80/100
Overall score: 85/100

What You Need to Know About Online Mental Health & Therapy On-Demand Services

When it comes to mental health care, you may hear various phrases like “counseling,” “therapy,” and “psychiatry.” To find the service that’s right for you, it’s helpful to understand what they mean.

Counseling refers to the process of addressing a specific issue, such as an addiction or stress. Therapy, or psychotherapy, is generally meant to address broader mental and behavioral patterns. Psychiatry is an area of medicine focusing specifically on preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illnesses, usually through medication.

Depending on an individual’s needs, these approaches can be used separately or together to address and manage mental health issues.

Choosing to pursue therapy online versus in-person is a personal choice that depends on your needs and limitations. One is not necessarily better than the other. Some people choose online therapy because it is cheaper, more convenient, and they have more ways to communicate with their therapist, while others prefer face-to-face interaction. If you are new to therapy, you may have to try a few methods to find what works best for you.

Online therapy is not recommended as a solution for individuals who have thoughts of hurting themselves or others; are in an emergency situation, or have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness.

Latest News

Within the last decade, online therapy has become significantly more prevalent, thanks in part to the growing de-stigmatization of mental illness, and emphasis on mental health care. There has been a sharpened focus on mental health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a severe impact on people’s mental and emotional well-being.

Sources