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BetterHelp Mental Health Therapy Review
Products & Services
Ease of Use
Customer Support & Reviews
- Therapists have at least three years and 1000 hours of professional experience
- Banking-grade encryption to keep your information safe
- Not able to prescribe medications
BetterHelp has offered online mental health therapy since 2013. Its therapists are able to provide a wide variety of mental health services through multiple communication methods. The service is available in all 50 states, is fairly average in its costs, but does not accept insurance of any kind.
Find What You Need
BetterHelp claims to be the world’s largest therapy platform. It’s offers online access to psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and board-licensed, professional counselors. All are licensed, trained and accredited. All BetterHelp therapists have at least three years and 1000 hours of professional experience and must hold a master’s degree or doctorate in their field.
Much like other therapy platforms, you’ll be asked to answer a few questions about yourself and create an account. Based on your answers, BetterHelp will use an algorithm to match you to a therapist it thinks fits the type of issues you are dealing with. It generally takes a few hours up to a few days for the therapist matching process to be completed. If you don’t feel like your therapist fits your needs, you can always ask for a new one.
If you have a preference for a therapist – like age, gender, religion, or sexual orientation – you can indicate that to Betterhelp. The therapy process can be conducted through text, live chats, on the phone, or with video conferencing.
You can message your therapist any time, from anywhere and with any device. Your private ‘room’ is open all the time. Messaging doesn’t happen in real-time so you don’t have to schedule it. When your therapist responds to your message, you’ll be notified by email. If you do want to text with your therapist in real-time, you can schedule a live chat time and have instant response and feedback. Phone sessions and video chatting can be scheduled with your therapist, as well.
BetterHelp specializes in several types of therapy:
- Borderline Personality Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
BetterHelp does make a point on its website that it does not fulfill court-ordered therapy and won’t accept clients under this type of order.
What About BetterHelp’s Privacy?
As with most online therapy platforms, once you’ve been matched with a therapist, you’ll be assigned a dedicated, private ‘room’ to discuss whatever you feel is necessary. BetterHelp says it is a private and secure place to communicate and everything you tell your therapist is confidential. Messages will stay visible to you and the therapists as long as you want. But there is a ‘shred’ button located next to each message you send, so you can get rid of it at any time and it will no longer show in your account.
The company uses banking-grade encryption to keep your information safe. The databases for the company are spread out across multiple data centers for an added layer of security and protection. The databases are also encrypted and scrambled, so if they are stolen or tampered with, the information they contain cannot be accessed.
It is important to note that in 2020, an investigation found BetterHelp shares information about its users with Facebook – things like what time of day you use the therapy platform, your location and how long you chat on the app. After that report, BetterHelp was urged by three U.S. Senators to clarify how their patient data was shared with third parties.
BetterHelp says it operates in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), but because the law was established before these platforms came into existence – there is often a ‘regulatory gray area’ they can operate in with certain information.
What Medications are Prescribed by BetterHelp?
As mentioned, BetterHelp offers online access to psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and board-licensed, professional counselors. All these types of therapists are equipped to treat mental health conditions, but they cannot diagnose them. BetterHelp does not offer psychiatry services, and therefore none of the counselors you will be matched with are able to prescribe medications.
Customer Reviews of BetterHelp
BetterHelp is an easy platform to use and it has multiple ways to communicate with your assigned therapist. The services are only offered to adults, and by and large you will find those who use the platform are happy with it.
We liked the flexibility of services. You can talk to your therapist by phone one week and change to video conferencing for the next. Each week can change based on your mental health needs.
BetterHelp has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But you will find hundreds of complaints filed with the consumer organization about the company. Most of the complaints are for billing issues and not with the therapy services, themselves.
Trustpilot – another trusted online review site – is filled with glowing reviews of people who have used the service and have seen improvement in their mental health.
Cost of BetterHelp
BetterHelp is a membership service. It doesn’t require a contract and can be cancelled at any time. There are different plans and depending on the one you choose, it may cost between $60 and $90 a week. So, it will end up being between $240 and $360 dollars a month.
BetterHelp will provide you with unlimited messaging with your therapists, and one live chat, phone conversation or video session each week. The live element you choose can change weekly depending on your mental health needs. Live chats, phone calls or video conferencing lasts between 30 and 50 minutes and your cost is based on which live method you choose. You will be billed every four weeks and can make payments with your credit card or PayPal account.
BetterHelp does not accept any form of insurance, so all your costs will be out-of-pocket. There is financial aid available, but you must qualify for it. The application can be found on the BetterHelp website and will ask questions about things like your employment status and income level.
BetterHelp Company Background
BetterHelp was founded by investor and entrepreneur Alon Matas in 2013. Matas experienced first-hand how expensive and inaccessible in-person therapy can be and set out to create a therapy platform that was more accessible and affordable.
The company was acquired by Teladoc in 2015 and became part of a network of other online therapy platforms. If you’re looking for couples counseling, BetterHelp will redirect you to ReGain Counseling. If you need help for your teenager, BetterHelp will refer you to TeenCounseling. Someone needing mental health therapy as it relates to LGBTQ+ issues, will be redirected to Pride Counseling.
The Bottom Line for BetterHelp
BetterHelp is easy to sign up for, widely available and will quickly match you to a counselor from its large network of therapists. It’s fairly average in its cost when compared to other online mental health platforms and has multiple options to connect you with someone who can help you.
Content on this site is for reference and information purposes only. Do not rely solely on this content, as it is not a substitute for advice from a licensed healthcare professional. Aging.com assumes no liability for inaccuracies. Consult with your doctor before beginning any medications or programs.