How can I talk to a psychiatrist online?
Updated on March 12, 2023
The 7 Best Online Psychiatry Services in 2022
Like work meetings, fitness classes and happy hours, mental health sessions can now also be done online. Telemedicine is a safe and convenient way to get mental health services in the virtual world.
If you want to see a psychiatrist but prefer to have your sessions remotely, online psychiatry may be an ideal option.
Here are our top suggestions for online mental health services.
Online therapy and psychiatry fall under the scope of telemedicine and telehealth services.
Instead of going to a doctor's office and talking to him or her in person, online mental health services allow you to communicate remotely.
Online therapy and online psychiatry are just as different as face-to-face therapy and psychiatry. A licensed therapist can provide mental health counseling, but he or she cannot prescribe medication. However, a psychiatrist can combine various forms of therapy with prescribing medication.
Yes, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication and make a diagnosis. They are doctors and can provide psychiatric care.
Once diagnosed, the psychiatrist may prescribe medication, therapy, or both.
Some online psychiatrists may not be able to prescribe certain medications depending on the service platform. These medications may include stimulants or controlled substances, such as some medications used to treat ADHD or panic attacks.
Medications that an online psychiatrist can prescribe include:
When selecting the best online psychiatry services, we considered many criteria, including quality, ease of use, and user ratings.
A team of mental health experts oversees the Telehealth screening process. This process uses specific criteria to make sure we are making the best recommendations for you. Some examples of factors considered in the screening process include:
- whether the product or service is supported by science-based research
- whether the brand complies with industry standards
- If there is a third-party certification
- Whether the brand complies with relevant federal or industry regulations
- If any legal or regulatory action has been taken with respect to the brand
- how the products produced by the brand are extracted
- Whether the brand is taking steps to promote social justice and diversity
All of the services recommended on this list have a network of board-certified psychiatrists who offer telehealth consultations, so you can get diagnoses and prescriptions without going into a doctor's office.
It is also important to note that you may not meet with a licensed psychiatrist in all of these services. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may also prescribe medication for mental health conditions, so you may meet with one of these specialists.
1. Talkspace - the best general online psychiatry
- Why we chose it: Talkspace was included on this list for the ease of use and flexibility offered by the service.
- Coverage: Talkspace is covered by some health insurance companies and employers. Check their full list of partners to see if you qualify for mental health care that is partially or fully covered.
The ability to schedule and attend psychiatric appointments from your smartphone is one of the attractions of online therapy apps like Talkspace. Everything can be done at home from the comfort of your own home, from the simple registration process to live video chatting.
After filling out a brief questionnaire, Talkspace will match you with a licensed psychiatrist who will diagnose your mental illness, prescribe medications and give you the therapy sessions you need. Talkspace psychiatrists can help you with a wide variety of mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders, depression and more. You can also switch doctors at any time if you feel you're not quite right for each other.
For a full review of Talkspace services, click here.
Use code "SPACE" for $100 off your first subscription
- Why we chose it: We chose this service for its ease of use in treating depression and anxiety, two very common reasons why people seek psychiatric help.
- Coverage: Cigna and Evernorth partner with Brightside and have coverage in every state where Brightside operates except Minnesota.
The well-known telemedicine platform BetterHelp has partnered with Brightside to deliver prescription medications to patients who need them. This is very convenient for people with anxiety and depression, although people with other mental health disorders can seek treatment from Brightside.
Participants receive unlimited messages with professionals who specialize in treating anxiety and depression. Treatment plans also include monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist and regular contact with a psychiatrist.
2. MDLIVE is best suited for flexible scheduling
- Why we chose it: While you still have to wait for an appointment, and there are still some restrictions on the type of care and prescriptions you can write, MDLIVE offers some of the best flexibility in terms of appointments.
- Coverage: Some health insurance companies and employers cover mental health care for MDLIVE. This may help cover some or all of the associated costs.
One of the problems with scheduling doctor's appointments is sticking to regular business hours. MDLIVE online psychiatry services may appeal to people with busy schedules because they offer evening and weekend appointments. Doctors are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 24-hour mental health care.
Online appointments can be made over the phone or via video chat. If you don't want to wait weeks for your psychiatrist's appointment, you can usually get an appointment through MDLIVE within a few days. Although your psychiatrist may live in a different city than you do, he or she can send prescriptions to your local pharmacy for pickup.
For a complete overview of MDLIVE services, click here.
3. Amwell is the best for co-care
- Why we chose it: We decided to add Amwell to this list because of their scope of care and the opportunities the platform offers to collaborate with other healthcare providers.
- Coverage: A list of some health insurance providers covers visits to Amwell. When you enroll, you can enter your health insurance information to see if you qualify for partial or full coverage for visits.
Amwell is not just an online therapy and psychiatry service. They cover other types of medicine as well, and board-certified physicians are available to communicate directly with the patient. If you've ever wanted to talk to your doctor from the comfort of your own home, Amwell is one solution.
Amwell's behavioral health services include a network of more than 100 board-certified psychiatrists who specialize in medication evaluation and ongoing medication management. Amwell psychiatrists can treat mental health conditions such as eating disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, cognitive disorders, depression, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While some online mental health services offer only psychiatric care, Amwell offers collaborative treatment so that communication can take place between your psychiatrist and your treating physician.
For a full review of Amwell's services, click here.
4. Doctor on Demand - best for choosing your own psychiatrist
- Why we chose it: This service allows you to review the qualifications and areas of expertise of various mental health professionals and choose the right one for you.
- Coverage: Some employers and health insurance companies cover mental health care through Doctor On Demand. Follow the steps at enrollment to see if your health insurance plan is supported.
If you want to bypass the process of selecting a psychiatrist and choose your own instead, consider Doctor On Demand. This virtual service includes 24-hour access to doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other medical specialists. You can rest assured that help is always available and easily accessible from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Although the care is virtual, it is still personal. Visits are done through a secure video connection. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone, including your doctor, unless you ask for it.
For a complete review of Doctor On Demand services, click here.
5. LiveHealth Online is best suited for menu-based appointments
- Why we chose it: Unlike many telehealth platforms, LiveHealth lets you choose your health care services one at a time, rather than requiring you to sign up for a plan or subscription.
- Coverage: LiveHealth Online is covered by some health plans.
People who need help managing their medications may need to see a psychiatrist regularly. If you've never seen a psychiatrist and want an initial evaluation, LiveHealth Online is a good option because this platform allows you to make an appointment by menu without requiring an ongoing subscription.
If you're concerned about the quality of online mental health services, telemedicine is a LiveHealth Online specialty. All doctors are specially trained to conduct online medical visits, so patients never feel like they're missing out on the in-person experience that face-to-face appointments provide.
6. Teladoc - the best for local service
- Why we chose it: The ability to choose a local doctor you can go to either online or in person has secured Teladoc a spot on this list.
- Coverage: Teladoc accepts a number of insurance plans, and depending on the type of treatment requested, some health plans cover part or all of the cost of Teladoc visits.
When you talk on the phone, video or by text message, it may seem like your psychiatrist is on the other side of the world. With a Teladoc appointment, your psychiatrist is closer than you think. Teladoc gives you the opportunity to choose a specialist in your community.
According to Teladoc, this service offers access to the top 5 percent of professionals in the world and a 90 percent satisfaction rate. Highly trained professionals can review your mental health history and treatment plan to tailor care to your needs.
Teladoc psychiatrists may prescribe medications except controlled substances or medications for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. This is because prescriptions for these medications require in-person monitoring and ongoing supervision.
However, people with these conditions can still use the service for referrals or other medications. Teladoc psychiatrists can offer prescriptions for antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medications and some antipsychotics.
7. Rethink My Therapy is the best option available
- Why we chose it: While this option may not work for everyone, people without insurance or those looking for inexpensive care can get comprehensive services with a basic membership.
- Coverage: Rethink My Therapy does not accept health insurance. They offer simple and affordable payment terms so patients can get care without relying on insurance companies.
Psychiatrist visits are usually more expensive than therapy sessions because psychiatrists are specially trained to prescribe medication. Without health insurance, these costs can escalate quickly. Rethink My Therapy, a brand within the telehealth company Rethink My Healthcare, is an affordable 24-hour online psychiatry service that makes mental health care accessible to people with different budgets.
A monthly subscription to the service includes ongoing access to primary care physicians, therapists and psychiatrists for collaborative care. Care is provided primarily by video link, which is a best practice for behavioral health sessions, but phone visits are also available as an additional option.
A network of psychiatrists can provide ongoing medication-assisted treatment for eating disorders, anxiety, depression, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. If you are interested in combining your telehealth and telehealth needs, Rethink My Healthcare can help you.
Many people put off seeing a psychiatrist because of fear or nervousness. If you're not sure if you should schedule an online psychiatry appointment, think about your medical history and any sudden changes in your physical and mental well-being.
"People who experience changes in mood, sleep and appetite, or who have thoughts of harming themselves or others, should see a psychiatrist," explains Tamir S. Aldad, MD, psychiatrist and CEO of Mindful Urgent Care.
"If a patient feels his symptoms are mild, it may be appropriate to start with a psychotherapist. Combining talk therapy with medication
Making an appointment with a psychiatrist online may also work for you if you need a psychiatric diagnosis, medication prescription or second opinion.
When considering seeking help from a psychiatrist, you may want to first think about why you are seeking help. Psychiatrists may provide general help, but some specialize in certain areas of therapy, such as:
Your primary care physician may offer recommendations on choosing a psychiatrist or even refer you to a local specialist. If you are looking for online services or a telehealth provider, the list above may be a good place to start.
Some factors to consider when choosing the best online psychiatrist for you include:
- Insurance coverage: Is it important for you to have your online psychiatrist or platform accept your insurance network?
- Cost: When choosing a psychiatrist online, keep your budget in mind, especially if you are going to see one regularly.
- Conditions Covered: Some mental health conditions are best treated in person. These conditions may include substance use disorders, eating disorders or more severe depressive conditions.
- Level of commitment: Some online psychiatry platforms may require or offer a subscription. You can decide what level of commitment you want before you sign up for anything. For example, are you already on medication and want to manage it? Or do you want to learn about your options?
- Types of specialists: If you don't already have a therapist but want to find one, this may be an important factor to consider. You may find it easier to find all the mental health professionals on one platform.
In a 2015 study, some researchers even suggested that young people prefer telepsychiatry over traditional face-to-face psychiatric visits. According to the study, telepsychiatry is particularly effective in treating PTSD, depression and ADHD.
According to a 2015 research review, a growing body of evidence suggests that online psychiatry services are effective, feasible and comparable to traditional treatment in terms of patient and clinic satisfaction.
Online psychiatry is a lot like online therapy. In addition to talking therapy via video, phone calls and text messages, online psychiatrists can help with medication therapy.
To get started, you will need to register on the mental health website. This may require entering your health insurance information (if you have it) and choosing a psychiatrist.
When you register, you can make appointments to talk to a psychiatrist from the comfort of your own home.
To attend virtual meetings, you need a reliable Internet connection and a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
There are several times when seeing a psychiatrist can alleviate negative or overwhelming feelings, including when you are worried:
- loss and grief
- stress and anxiety
- family and relationship issues
- Substance use disorder
In other cases, you may need to talk to a psychiatrist to improve your general state of mind. This may mean seeing a psychiatrist to deal with the problem:
- mental health condition
- productivity improvement
- mental clarity
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to start seeing a psychiatrist. It is important to listen to yourself and understand that some events may require the guidance of a professional to work through feelings or events in a healthy way.
Choosing a counselor, therapist or psychologist is a very personal decision. Everyone has different needs when it comes to psychological help. Here are some things to consider when choosing one.
How much does online psychiatry cost?
Depending on your insurance coverage, talking to a psychiatrist online can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 for an initial consultation. Sometimes it can be as much as $500.
Follow-up appointments are usually $100 per session.
Can online psychiatrists write prescriptions for controlled substances?
Traditionally, there have been restrictions on the types of medications online medical professionals, including psychiatrists, could prescribe.
Some types of drugs, such as controlled substances, require personal visits, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Drug Enforcement Administration to loosen some of these rules.
Online providers can now prescribe controlled substances without an in-person visit.
Are online psychiatrists legitimate?
This is an important and valid question to ask when considering online mental health services - or any mental health services, for that matter.
Check the credentials of any health care provider, make sure they have the proper training, degree, and license to provide the health care you are seeking.
There are also a number of organizations that certify or accredit specialists in various specialties. In psychiatry, an example is the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. These organizations conduct tests or require certification that a provider performs a certain level of care.
Verification of provider credentials and training is part of the Telehealth verification process and has been considered in the development of this list.
What is the difference between teletherapy and telepsychiatry?
Whether offered online or face-to-face, therapy and psychiatry services differ in two key ways.
Therapy usually refers to psychological services such as counseling. These services are provided by a qualified therapist, counselor, or psychologist. These professionals are trained to give certain types of therapy, but they cannot prescribe medication.
Psychiatrists, whether online or in-person, are specially trained to make medical diagnoses and prescribe medications to treat various mental illnesses.
Can I go to a psychiatrist without a referral?
Yes, you can see a psychiatrist with or without a referral. If you don't have a referral, you can find a psychiatrist through your insurance network. Or you can try to find someone who specializes in your mental illness(es) or symptoms.
Can you get diagnosed by a psychiatrist online?
Yes. If you see a psychiatrist virtually, he can still diagnose you with a mental illness.
Psychiatrists can make medication recommendations and write prescriptions for certain drugs online. But some telehealth networks will not write prescriptions for drugs such as stimulants or controlled substances.
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