In search of mental health support, but don’t want to step outside the comfort of your home to find it?
BetterHelp calls itself “the world’s largest e-counseling platform.”
The site declares its mission to be “making professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient – so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere.”
So, does the site live up to its promise? Can you get the support you need to take on life’s challenges through BetterHelp?
In this article, we will explore this site and all it has to offer in-depth. We will go over the services, benefits, costs, process, payment options, reputation, and pros and cons.
That way, you can make an informed decision over whether to use BetterHelp counseling services.
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is a telehealth website specializing in mental health care.
Through this site, you can make online or phone appointments with a counselor who is assigned to your case.
You also can use a messaging system to keep in contact between those live appointments.
You can read about this in more detail in the section about services provided by BetterHelp.
BetterHelp Quick Facts
- $80-$100 a week
- Monthly billing
- Cancel anytime
- Four communication options
- Ongoing support
- Licensed mental healthcare workers
- Services for teens, adults and couples
What Are the Benefits of BetterHelp?
Here are a few of the key advantages of using BetterHelp for your mental healthcare.
- Avoid trips to a the therapist’s office. Making and keeping appointments can be a hassle, especially if disruptions to your routine are not ideal for your mental health, as is common with many conditions and situations. With BetterHelp online counseling, you can reduce or eliminate your in-person therapist appointments.
- Get non-confrontational support in a way that feels safe and comfortable to you. While some people do great with a face-to-face appointment, many others prefer to avoid this type of communication. If you feel safer on the other end of a video chat or typing into a text box, you may actually find it easier to open up and make progress online.
- Receive ongoing support between live appointments. With traditional therapy, you have limited or no contact with your therapist between your appointments, leaving you entirely on your own with questions. But with BetterHelp, that is not the case. Anytime you have a question or want to share something, you can do so through the messaging system.
- Get access to care no matter where you are. If you live in a rural location, you may have only a handful of choices for therapists, if even that. Sometimes, there is only one person available. But you can be matched with numerous different therapists through BetterHelp. This gives you a better chance of finding someone who is familiar with your situation and uses a methodology that you like.
- BetterHelp is accessible for disabled users in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at the AA level, published by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
What Services Does BetterHelp Provide?
BetterHelp provides ongoing counseling services. There are three principal types of services available:
- Individual counseling
- Couples counseling
- Teenage counseling
You would choose the “teenage counseling” option if you are signing up your child for services. Teens as young as 13 can use the site.
BetterHelp counselors can assist with a wide variety of life challenges. Some of these include:
- Coping issues
- Relationship issues
- LGBT-related issues
- Family problems
- Intimacy-related issues
- Eating disorders
- Sleeping disorders
- Parenting issues
- Anger management
- Career problems
- … And much more.
There are four ways you can speak with your counselor:
- Live chat
- Video conference
- Messaging system (not real-time)
By offering these different communication channels, BetterHelp maximizes flexibility for customers.
You can decide whether you are most comfortable with phone, video conference or live chat. If you prefer, you do not ever need to use these real-time communication methods. You have complete freedom.
Naturally, you do need to schedule an appointment if you want to speak with your counselor live.
But the messaging system is always there anytime you need it. You can leave a message when you have a moment, and the counselor will respond when they have a moment.
What is nice about this system is that it not only gives you a way to receive ongoing, convenient support without dealing with scheduling an appointment, but it also provides you with an ongoing written record of your conversations.
You may find some of these records extremely helpful in guiding your therapy over the weeks and months ahead.
What Does BetterHelp Cost?
In terms of costs, BetterHelp sets you up with a monthly billing cycle and weekly charges.
The cost can range between $80-$100 weekly.
How Does BetterHelp Work?
1. You sign up on the site and answer questions about your needs and preferences (detailed instructions follow).
2. BetterHelp matches you with a counselor.
3. Your first billing cycle starts.
4. You can talk to your counselor live once a week if you choose. You also can message your counselor anytime using audio, text and/or video.
You can use BetterHelp for as long or short a period of time as you need. If you want to stop or take a break, you can cancel your subscription at any time.
How to Sign Up on BetterHelp
Using BetterHelp is simple, and the process to get set up with services is fast and easy. Just follow the steps below.
1. Click on the orange “Get Started” button in the top right-hand corner of the BetterHelp website.
2. Answer the questions on the next screen to explain what you are looking for in terms of counseling services.
You will be asked a variety of questions about yourself, your identity, your physical and mental health, and your preferences for a therapist.
3. Click the green “Next” button after you finish with the questions. You will now be prompted to create a private account. Input your info and check the box stating that you agree to the terms and conditions. Then, click the orange “Get started” button.
4. The site will send verification code to your email with a three-digit verification code. Type the code into the box provided on the page, and click on the green “Submit” button.
5. You will now have an opportunity to provide additional details about what you are looking for in terms of a counselor (gender, religion, age, and so forth).
The next page will ask you to provide some input on the expertise you are looking for in terms of conditions like depression, anxiety, addictions, and sleep disorders as well as life situations involving LGBT issues, coping with life changes, compassion fatigue and more.
6. On the next page, type briefly why you are seeking counseling.
7. Once you have submitted your information, the site will match you with a counselor based on your needs. This process may take several hours or days. On the welcome page that appears after you finish the sign-up process above, you will have an opportunity to provide your payment details.
8. After the site achieves a match, the first billing cycle will begin, and you will have access to your counselor.
Don’t like your counselor? Ask for someone else. With 12,000 counselors, the site should be able to find someone that suits you.
What Are the BetterHelp Payment Options?
You can pay for services on BetterHelp using a credit or debit card or Google Pay.
Most services are available for $80 weekly (some services may be more expensive, but the majority should be covered at the lower end of the price range). And since there is a monthly billing cycle, the monthly charge is $320.
What about using your insurance to pay for BetterHelp?
In the FAQ, the company writes, “Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.”
So, it sounds like there might be exceptions, but on the whole, you are going to need to pay for your services out-of-pocket.
But, as the site points out, there is a good chance that even if your insurance were to cover therapy services, you would end up paying about the same cost in terms of your co-pay that you are paying with cash here.
Is BetterHelp Legit?
Yes, BetterHelp is legit. The site explains, “BetterHelp offers access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC).”
The site adds, “All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board after successfully completing the necessary education, exams, training and practice. While their experience, expertise and background vary, they all possess at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. Click here to learn more about the counselors.”
The site also offers extensive details about their verification process for providers. This includes:
- Checking licensure documentation, proof of identity, and references
- Cross-checking with the state licensing board
- Requiring providers to pass a case study exam
- A video interview evaluation
The entire process takes 4 to 5 weeks to complete for any given applicant, and only around 15% of applicants have been approved for the site.
What is particularly interesting about this telehealth site is that BetterHelp was the subject of a research study conducted by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute.
The study can be found here. According to the results, 98% of participants made significant progress working with counselors from BetterHelp, and 94% said they preferred the services over face-to-face therapy.
Pros of BetterHelp
- Choose a live therapy method that is right for you. One of the best things about BetterHelp is how versatile the communication options are. You can choose what works best for you in terms of convenience and your comfort level.
- Get support between appointments. Unlike traditional therapy, BetterHelp gives you a way to receive answers to your questions between live appointments.
- BetterHelp seems to be diversity-friendly. While exploring the sign-up process for this service, I was impressed by all of the questions asked at the outset. The site seems welcoming and conscientious concerning differences in sexuality, gender identity, religion, spirituality and more. It is good to know that there is diversity in terms of the therapists available. It means that every customer should be able to find someone who can empathize with them.
- With 12,000 therapists, you should find a match. In an underserved region, you may never be able to find a local therapist who actually has the specialized knowledge you need to help you with your problems. But with 12,000 therapists online at BetterHelp, at least one of them should be qualified to treat you.
- Counseling is available for a genuinely wide range of issues. I have noticed that a lot of online therapy sites only focus on a few really prevalent issues such as depression or relationship problems. But this site offers help with a lot of specific issues such as compassion fatigue, career difficulties, trauma, parenting issues, and others.
Cons of BetterHelp
- Insurance does not cover BetterHelp. But being as the cash cost is comparable to what a co-pay with insurance might be (or less), it is still an affordable service.
Who Should Consider BetterHelp?
Whether BetterHelp will be a good fit for you probably depends on the frequency with which you would expect to use the service.
Even though BetterHelp is $80 a week, the monthly billing cycle means that you pay for every week of the month, whether you need weekly appointments or not.
Doing it this way makes sense, being as you get access to ongoing support the entire time.
If you only are looking for an occasional appointment without a lot of other communication, you might end up overspending compared to what you would pay for the occasional appointment with a local therapist.
If you expect to use your weekly live appointments and/or you will be taking frequent advantage of the messaging system, $320 a month is a solid deal.
Aside from those who are looking only for occasional therapist appointments, I cannot think of too many others who could not make good use of BetterHelp.
There are some types of therapy that need to be administered in person. But so long as you are not looking for those types of services, BetterHelp should be a good fit for a wide variety of customers with a wide range of needs.
BetterHelp is a Flexible, Affordable Way to Receive Ongoing Mental Healthcare Online
We have now had a chance to check out BetterHelp in detail to see what this telehealth site has to offer.
On the whole, BetterHelp looks to be an incredibly versatile platform.
With 12,000 therapists with wide-ranging expertise, a diversity-friendly approach, and multiple options for live contact with your therapist, the site’s services should be suited to many different needs.
Additionally, the messaging system ensures that you can request perspective, answers or support at any time.
If you want to give BetterHelp a try, click the link below to get started.