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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow Brightside vs. BetterHelp: Make the Right Choice

Brightside vs. BetterHelp: Make the Right Choice

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
12 min read 1290 Views 0 Reviews
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We’ve taken a closer look at BetterHelp and Brightside to help you decide which app offers the best online therapy experience.

brightside vs betterhelp

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

In contrast to in-person therapy, online therapy has become more popular in recent years as a more accessible approach to mental health care.

There are many online therapy apps available now that give access to therapy sessions, but with so many options, it can be difficult to choose the best one.

In this article, we’re going to compare two online therapy services: Brightside vs Bette

rHelp. We will look at what makes these online therapy platforms different and how they could help you so that you can choose the best option for your needs.

Brightside vs. BetterHelp: Which App Is Better?

BetterHelp emerges as the clear winner for the best online therapy services when comparing these apps.

For those seeking professional mental health support, BetterHelp offers affordable subscription models, teen counseling, faith-based counseling, and support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

It utilizes telepsychiatry and therapy sessions to help users manage their mental well-being. The app puts users in touch with a licensed therapist and offers both psychiatric care and a medication plan. Brightside treatment focuses only on anxiety and depression.

4.2
stars
3.7
stars
Brand
BetterHelp
Brightside
Pros

Affordable model

Covers a diverse range of therapies, including couples counseling, faith-based counseling, and LGBTQIA+

Easy to switch therapists if needed

Offers financial aid

Multiple subscription plans

Accepts some health insurance coverage

Medication can be shipped to you

Cons

No medication plans

Does not accept insurance

Some therapists don’t offer video conferencing or texting services

Only caters to adults over 18

Provides treatment for a limited range of issues

Customer support does not offer quick replies

What Is the Brightside App?

Brightside logo
Our rating:
3.7
stars
  • Online therapy services, including telepsychiatry and therapy
  • Focused on people with anxiety and depression
Learn More

The Brightside app is a platform for online therapy and medication management. It is focused on people dealing with anxiety and depression and matches each user with a mental health professional who can best serve their needs.

On top of the therapy offered on the Brightside app, there is also access to a self-care program with their subscriptions. The program is accessible on the website and involves lessons on mindfulness and other forms of skill-building to help improve your psychological health.

Pros
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    Multiple subscription plans
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    Accepts some health insurance coverage
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    Medication can be shipped to you
Cons
  • checkmark
    Only caters to adults over 18
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    Provides treatment for a limited range of issues
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    Customer support does not offer quick replies

What Is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Online therapy for a range of issues
  • 24-hour contact with a therapist
Learn More

The BetterHelp app is an alternative to traditional therapy. It offers users online therapy for a range of issues and caters to everyone, including teens, couples, those looking for faith-based counseling, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

The app puts you in contact with a licensed therapist and allows you to communicate with them in the format of your choice. Communication formats available include video conferencing, audio, and instant messaging services. You can contact your therapist 24 hours a day.

Therapists on the BetterHelp app are experts in a range of different therapy styles, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, interpersonal therapy, and more. This means you can find the best style of therapy for you and your needs.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Affordable subscription model
  • checkmark
    Covers a diverse range of therapies, including couples counseling, faith-based counseling, and LGBTQIA+
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    Easy to switch therapists if needed
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    Offers financial aid
Cons
  • checkmark
    No medication plans
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    Does not accept insurance
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    Some therapists don’t offer video conferencing or texting services

How Do These Apps Work

In an era when mental health apps such as Brightside and BetterHelp are gaining widespread recognition, it becomes vital to understand how these platforms work and what they can offer for you.

The BetterHelp app begins with a short quiz where you create your account and log your preference for therapists. You also address why you’re coming to therapy and how you would like to communicate with your therapist.

The opening quiz helps the BetterHelp app choose the best therapist for you, depending upon therapist availability. From there, you need to set up payment information and choose your subscription.

We recommend downloading the app, though you can use the BetterHelp website, too, as it makes staying in contact with your therapist much easier.As well as the therapy services offered by BetterHelp, the app also has journal prompts and suggestions to support your mental health outside of therapy. Journaling, especially using an online journal format, has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health conditions and can help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.

As with BetterHelp, Brightside starts with a survey where you answer questions about the kind of psychological health struggles you’re having, and the app uses this information to match you with a therapist.

The professionals on the Brightside app include psychologists and masters-level therapists, alongside those who prescribe medication, including physicians, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Once you have matched with a health professional, you are then able to book an appointment and speak with your therapist via Zoom. You can also set up a medication subscription for an additional fee and have your medications delivered directly to you.

Types of Services

Both apps offer a number of services designed to improve your mental heatlh. We have taken a look at them below.

BetterHelp mainly operates as an online therapy provider. These options can be used to treat a range of issues, including treatment for anxiety and depression, teen counseling, couples counseling, faith-based counseling, and support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

BetterHelp runs many of its services through subsidiaries, and you will be put in touch with the right one for your mental health conditions upon subscribing to the app. Along with the therapy services, BetterHelp also gives users access to self-help features within the app, including journaling for better overall well-being.

Brightside, like BetterHelp, is mainly a therapy service, but it caters specifically to people with anxiety and depression. On top of these therapy services, though, Brightside does prescribe medication. It costs an additional fee, but users can have medications delivered directly to them.

Benefits

To help you make the best decision for your mental well-being, we have summarized the pros and cons of both apps. Take a look below to learn more.

Brightside pros

Brightside has many pros that make it an effective online therapy service. See below to find out more.

#1 Therapy and medication management

Brightside works with licensed therapists to connect users across the country and is an excellent alternative to traditional-style therapy. Once you have been matched with one of their licensed therapists, you can book a therapy session at the next available time. You will meet with your therapist online, over Zoom.

On top of the therapy session services, Brightside also offers medication subscription if needed.  This is not part of the therapy-only plan and does cost a little extra, but it is a useful service ensuring people are prescribed the medication they need.

#2 Appointments are scheduled quickly

After matching with one of Brightside’s licensed therapists, scheduling a session is incredibly quick and easy. This means you can get straight into online therapy and start working on your mental well-being without having to wait long.

#3 They can ship medication to you

For some people, medication is required to manage their psychological health. Unlike many therapy platforms, Brightside offers medication delivery to users who are signed up for the medication management plan. This service delivers medication directly to you and is an easy way of staying on top of your mental well-being.

BetterHelp pros

BetterHelp offers online mental healthcare to lots of different groups. We have listed the pros of this service below.

#1 Lots of counseling options

The counseling options for BetterHelp are much more diverse than those for Brightside. Indeed, there are options for teen counseling, couples therapy, LGBTQIA+ counseling, faith-based counseling, and individual therapy for people with anxiety, depression, and other conditions. This diversity of therapy options makes BetterHelp a good option for more people.

#2 Ability to text your therapist

BetterHelp offers unlimited messaging services for its users, meaning that you can stay in contact with your therapist even outside of live sessions. This unlimited messaging is great for round-the-clock care and encourages users to reach out when they need help.

#3 Affordable even without insurance

BetterHelp doesn’t accept insurance, but it is an affordable plan, and financial aid is available for people in need. Unlike traditional-style therapy, the BetterHelp app is a more accessible solution.

Downsides

As with any app, there are some drawbacks to both BetterHelp and Brightside. We have explored these cons below.

Brightside cons

Brightside has some drawbacks that may make you think twice before choosing this app. Take a look at them below to find out more.

#1 Only for adults

Brightside has pretty limited services – it only caters to adults. This means that if anyone under the age of 18 is looking for a mental health app, they can’t use Brightside.

#2 Treatment for anxiety and depression only

Another limitation of Brightside services includes that it only caters to people with anxiety and depression. There is no provision for things like family therapy, group therapy, or for conditions like bipolar disorder, childhood trauma, or eating disorders. This makes Brightside a very limited service in comparison to other therapy apps.

BetterHelp cons

BetterHelp also has some drawbacks. These are listed below.

#1 Price might vary depending on your state

Unfortunately, the subscription plans can vary on the BetterHelp app. Prices range across states due to various factors, which means you may end up paying more for this service simply because of where you live.

#2 Doesn’t accept insurance

Though BetterHelp does offer financial aid to people who are struggling, it does not accept any form of health insurance. This means you have to pay out of pocket, which could be inaccessible to some people.

Special Features

These online therapy providers have many services you would expect to find on apps to support mental well-being, but they also have some unique features that make them stand out.

The Brightside app features cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) lessons alongside its live therapy sessions to help users develop coping mechanisms and continue to learn about their own minds. CBT is an evidence-based therapy that helps people to change the way they think. CBT is proven to have a positive effect on both anxiety and depression.

Group webinars on the BetterHelp app cover topics including anger management, relationships, trauma and trauma bonding, and wellness. Sessions are usually an hour long and feature a lecturer exploring the theme through a PowerPoint presentation. You can interact with other group members. This is a great way for users of the BetterHelp app to expand their knowledge and improve their well-being outside of therapy.

Price

The price of these apps is incredibly important. We believe that good health should be accessible to everybody, which is why we look for affordable products to boost your well-being. Take a look below to find out more about how much each app costs.

Brightside can cost between $95 and $349 per month, depending on your chosen subscription. Along with your subscription, there may be additional fees for more live sessions and medication delivery. The subscription plans for the Brightside app are as follows:

  • Medication only – $95 per month. This includes initial consultation and ongoing monitoring. Additional fees may apply for medication deliveries.
  • Therapy only – $299 per month. This includes 4 live sessions per month and messaging services with your therapist. Additional sessions cost $59 per session.
  • Medication and therapy – $349 per month. Additional fees from both separate plans apply here.

In the meantime, the BetterHelp app is an affordable choice and offers a few different subscription plans to make therapy accessible to you. The subscription plans are as follows.

  • Standard rate – $60–$90 per week. Prices vary per state.
  • Discounted rate – if you meet the criteria, this costs between $65–$80 per month. Criteria include being a veteran, having a disability, being a student, and being on a low income
  • Financial aid – as low as $48 per week. This only lasts for 90 days, though, and you will need to reapply after this period.

BetterHelp financial aid

By offering financial aid, BetterHelp aims to make mental health support accessible to a wider audience. To help alleviate the financial burden of some individuals seeking therapy, they provide a variety of assistance programs.Individuals can inquire about discounts, sliding-scale fees, and other forms of financial assistance by contacting BetterHelp’s customer support team. Financial aid options may vary depending on factors such as income, location, and individual circumstances.

Customer Reviews

It’s important to read real customer reviews before trying out any online therapy app. To give you a better understanding of the pros and cons of these apps, we collected some reviews.

BetterHelp customer reviews

Agnes wrote: “I have truly found BetterHelp to be a lifeline. There is a high level of professionalism, compassion, and understanding among the therapists on the platform. It has been incredibly convenient for me to access therapy whenever I need it through messaging, phone calls, or video sessions. Subscription plans are reasonably priced, and the app is intuitive and easy to use. Since starting therapy with BetterHelp, my mental well-being has improved greatly.”

Harry shared: “Despite my hopes, my experience with BetterHelp was less than positive. Despite several attempts, I was never matched with a therapist who truly understood my needs. I had difficulty getting timely and consistent support from my therapist because of his slow response time. Even though BetterHelp can work for some people, I wasn’t happy with the level of care and support it provided.”

Brightside customer reviews

Terry said: “I have experienced significant improvement in my mental health thanks to Brightside. Being able to get medication management and therapy services in one place has been very convenient. It has been wonderful working with my psychiatrist, who is attentive, responsive, and has made many changes to my medication that have improved my overall health. During therapy, I gained new perspectives and coping strategies that have been valuable and insightful.”

Jack shared: “I was expecting a lot from Brightside, but it, unfortunately, failed to live up to my expectations. While the concept of integrated medication management and therapy sounded good, the execution fell short. Inconsistent communication with my psychiatrist led to delays in refilling prescriptions. It felt like the therapy sessions were rushed and lacked depth.”

Comparison Table

Comparison Winner: Sensa
4.5
stars
4.2
stars
3.7
stars
Brand
Sensa
BetterHelp
Brightside
Pros

Every plan is individualized

Quick-Relief for moments of panic

Provides help for many conditions

Journaling

Mood tracker

Affordable model

Covers a diverse range of therapies, including couples counseling, faith-based counseling, and LGBTQIA+

Easy to switch therapists if needed

Offers financial aid

Multiple subscription plans

Accepts some health insurance coverage

Medication can be shipped to you

Cons

Does not have video or audio content

No medication plans

Does not accept insurance

Some therapists don’t offer video conferencing or texting services

Only caters to adults over 18

Provides treatment for a limited range of issues

Customer support does not offer quick replies

When we review apps, we want our users to get all the information possible so that they can find an app that really works for them. In our reviews, we rate each product against 4 categories: quality, effectiveness, price, and brand reputation. See below to find out more about what each of these means and how both therapy apps rate.

Quality

Quality is key to an excellent product, and when it comes to a therapy app, you want to know that the app is of good quality. Both Brightside and BetterHelp use tried and tested psychological practices and are of good quality.

We would rate BetterHelp slightly higher in this section, though, as it covers a more diverse range of mental health issues and has better customer support.

Effectiveness

Therapy has long been used to treat psychological health conditions, and research shows it is effective in almost all cases. Both of these online mental health services are effective ways to cope with poor psychological health and could help you feel better in the long run.

While Brightside is an effective option for anxiety and depression, it lacks provision for people suffering from other conditions, like bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and paranoia, which makes it the less effective of the two.

Price

While both apps seem expensive for app-based products, in comparison to in-person sessions, they’re both relatively affordable. Indeed, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to traditional therapy, you could try one of these apps for a fraction of the cost.

Brand reputation

While a good brand doesn’t always mean a good product, both BetterHelp and Brightside have excellent reputations within the health industry. This means that users can trust them to support better psychological health.

FAQs

Which one is cheaper: BetterHelp or Brightside?

Brightside and BetterHelp have different pricing structures, but BetterHelp is generally more cost-effective. BetterHelp offers subscription-based plans based on the level of support and services required.

How long are the therapy sessions on BetterHelp and Brightside?

BetterHelp life sessions can last from 30 to 45 minutes, while Brightside’s sessions last 45 minutes.

Are BetterHelp and Brightside legit?

Brightside and BetterHelp are both legitimate online therapy platforms. Their mental health services are well-established and trusted worldwide.

Does BetterHelp give prescriptions?

Prescription services are not directly offered by BetterHelp. Providing counseling and therapy services is BetterHelp’s primary focus as an online therapy platform.

A Word From a Psychologist

Psychological health is just as important as physical health, so taking steps to improve your mental well-being can make you feel better overall. There are many ways to improve mental well-being, including getting more exercise, getting out in nature with a morning walk, and eating a balanced diet.

Other steps for good mental well-being could include trying mindfulness and meditation, practicing yoga, and prioritizing sleep. If you are struggling with your psychological health and have tried everything, it may be time to seek therapy.

There is no shame in seeking therapy, and it can do wonders for your mental well-being. Speaking with a therapist can help you find the roots of your problems and develop coping strategies for when things get difficult.

Traditional, in-person therapy is incredibly expensive, but other alternatives are available, including online therapy and therapy apps. These options are more accessible and affordable.

Conclusion

When it comes to online therapy, comparing BetterHelp and Brightside highlights a clear difference. While both platforms offer mental health assistance, BetterHelp stands out as the preferred option. This is due to its wide network of licensed therapists, flexible communication options, user-friendly interface, cost-effectiveness, and focus on client satisfaction.

By focusing on accessibility, convenience, and high-quality care, BetterHelp establishes a remarkable standard in the industry, providing individuals with an efficient and dependable way to enhance their mental well-being.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
12 min read 1290 Views 0 Reviews
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