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Cerebral vs. Brightside: Which App Offers the Best Expert Care?
Mental Health

Cerebral vs. Brightside: Which App Offers the Best Expert Care?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 12, 2023
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9 min

Online therapy is both convenient and easy for many people seeking mental health support. Certain apps claim to offer expert advice, but do they actually work? We compare Cerebral and Brightside by evaluating their benefits for online therapy services.

cerebral vs brightside
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Are you on the hunt for online mental healthcare?

Sometimes, going to in-person therapy just doesn’t feel comfortable. You might prefer video calls or apps that tell you exactly how to book appointments. The current wellness industry focuses on mental health treatment people can receive while sitting in the comfort of their homes.

There are many apps that claim to offer therapy through video chat. This is great for those who have busy schedules and need something easy to discuss in the morning or evening. Cerebral and Brightside are two potential options, but which one holds the best online services?

In this article, we compare Cerebral and Brightside to determine which is more effective.

Summary

Cerebral is a digital therapy app that can help you make positive lifestyle changes. There are options for psychiatry, life coaching, and general therapy treatment. You meet with a licensed therapist to discuss mental health concerns and solutions to improve your overall well-being.

Brightside also offers remote care for a range of mental health conditions. Some of these might be depression, panic disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. People can get personalized treatment plans according to their health goals and needs when it comes to receiving support.

Here are the pros, cons, and benefits of these two apps:

Cerebral

Cerebral
  • Online therapy, psychiatry, and life coaching support
  • You can use certain treatments for anxiety or depression
Our rating:
3.8
Learn More
Pros
  • Simple video calls
  • Good variety of therapists
  • Easy-to-use website
  • Consistent mental health support
  • Therapist search tools
  • Free prescription delivery
  • FSA/HSA cards accepted
Cons
  • Limited to 35 states
  • Price increases after one month
  • No option to pause meetings

Brightside 

Brightside
  • Remote care for those with mental health issues
  • Caring advice is given by compassionate therapists
Our rating:
3.7
Learn More
Pros
  • Medication available when necessary
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy lessons
  • Plenty of self-care tools
  • Simple and convenient features
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Last-minute appointments
  • Check-in quizzes to view progress
Cons
  • You must be 18 years old
  • Too many reminders
  • No audio or live chat sessions
  • Lack of customer support

What Is the Cerebral App?

The Cerebral app has therapy and mental health medication for those who need support. You can gain access to ongoing care from a licensed therapist. People with a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, can converse with medical professionals about possible treatment.

Cerebral also has care counselors that attend to your needs for a monthly fee. This is supposed to be a comfortable experience for anyone who doesn’t like in-person therapy. Plus, the telemedicine platform easily connects you to a team during your busy schedule.

A study found that apps containing psychiatric treatment are effective in boosting your emotional well-being. They are especially great for people with anxiety disorders since they don’t need to venture into busy GP offices or meet face-to-face with local doctors.

What Is the Brightside App?

Brightside focuses on digital therapy by creating a safe mental health space. A care counselor can help you take control of paranoid thoughts or feelings that damage your health. The app relies on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to change your mindset and treat anxiety.

CBT is a form of psychological treatment that can alter the way you think and behave. Studies have proved that this approach encourages more positivity in someone’s life. You could find a new way to deal with emotional stress rather than committing to self-destructive behaviors.

Just be aware that Brightside experts cannot treat those who are suicidal or engaging in self-harm because they don’t offer a suitable medication plan. The same goes for anyone who has eating disorders, bipolar, psychosis, borderline personality disorder, or schizophrenia.

Types of Services

Each app comes with unique services that support those with a mental illness. You can study both Cerebral and Brightside to determine which sounds more beneficial.

Cerebral services

Cerebral mainly focuses on digital therapy and medication administration to support those going through a mental health crisis. You can still opt for the general therapy plan if you don’t need medication. People need to take a brief psychological assessment before using these services.

Brightside services

Brightside requires users to answer some questions that determine if they want medication, therapy, or a combination of both. These are the three main services you can get when signing up. You will then get matched with a therapist or psychiatric provider after the assessment.

Cerebral vs. Brightside Pros

Both of these apps can prescribe medication and support your health, but it’s important to know how they will actually make a difference. Below, there are some advantages of Cerebral and Brightside, so make sure to evaluate these before purchasing a subscription.

Cerebral pros

The Cerebral app has many advantages that can suit your needs. This is because the creators wanted to cater to anyone seeking treatment and further support.

Here are some highlights:

#1 Multiple plans available

Cerebral has several plans to suit a wide variety of problems. You could talk to a care counselor about your thoughts or request medication to reduce stress. This means that Cerebral should help more people with their issues, leading to better mental healthcare in today’s society.

#2 Convenient mental healthcare

You can easily book an appointment with your therapist. There’s no need to travel or speak with people during face-to-face therapy. Cerebral is all about helping people feel comfortable receiving support from home, which is especially useful for those wanting anxiety treatment.

#3 Only licensed therapists

People will only speak to licensed providers when using the app. You will get the most professional treatment for medication or talk therapy. This should offer some comfort for those who are new to therapy apps or digital platforms that allow a medication therapy plan.

Brightside pros

Brightside also has some advantages for improving your health. The creators want customers to have an easy experience when it comes to seeking professional support.

Below are the main pros:

#1 Simple, user-friendly interface

Beginners of digital therapy can use the app without any complications. Many of the features are simple and don’t require much effort to understand. This type of interface will suit everyone looking for straightforward therapy or needing something quick to use during the day.

#2 Accepts insurance

Brightside accepts insurance for anyone with eligibility in their location. The plans also allow payments from health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). This means you could save high out-of-pocket costs when finding the card you need.

#3 Certified staff

The licensed professionals are there to support your therapy plan. Some could prescribe medications for anyone needing that extra bit of help during a midlife crisis. Apps that only hire certified staff are more likely to be trusted by potential customers and external providers.

Cerebral vs. Brightside Cons

There are bound to be disadvantages when it comes to these apps. They won’t always suit everyone looking for a specific treatment plan. Below, you will find the main cons of Cerebral and Brightside, so consider these before making a decision on one of the subscriptions.

Cerebral cons

Cerebral mainly has problems associated with money and appointments. You might want to think about your budget before spending some of it on dedicated memberships.

Here are the cons of this app:

#1 You have to pay before getting the service

To actually get the main services of the app, you need to pay the money beforehand. Some people may not feel comfortable giving money before seeing what the treatment is like. Cerebral might not be the right therapy treatment if you don’t like this option.

#2 Limited refunds

You get very limited refunds on online therapy services. Anyone who doesn’t feel satisfied with their treatment plan may not get any money back. Plus, the plans can be expensive compared to alternatives in the market, so keep that in mind before downloading.

Brightside cons

Brightside can be limited in terms of therapy formats and subscription discounts. It may be worth considering these points before putting your money toward the app.

Keep reading to find the cons:

#1 Medication plan might be expensive

Paying almost $100 for a medication plan can be expensive. Not everyone has that kind of money to spend every month. This can make it hard for people to order depression or anxiety medications, leading to fewer app downloads and dedicated customers on the Brightside app.

#2 Video therapy only

Sadly, you cannot get text message therapy or phone calls. Therapists expect you to arrange video appointments when discussing a medication therapy plan. Some users may not feel comfortable showing their faces, which instantly puts them off from using Brightside.

Special Features

Each app holds unique features that may benefit your long-term health. You can compare the two to determine which therapy plan offers better psychological services.

Cerebral features

  • Audio calls
  • Live video chats
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Text messaging
  • Prescription tracker
  • Medication prescription
  • Breathing exercises

Brightside features

  • Self-care program
  • Therapy video sessions
  • Medication diagnosis
  • Frequent assessments
  • 30-minute talks

Cerebral vs. Brightside Price

Determining the price of each app can help you choose which is best for your health goals. Not everyone feels comfortable committing to an expensive subscription. Just keep reading to find the pricing plans for these health apps and what you can expect to find in the plan.

How much is Cerebral?

The price for a Cerebral subscription depends on your plan. Some treatment plans are more expensive due to the medication or therapy sessions. You should look at the different offers to see what you prefer and how the costs might compare to your current budget.

Here is the pricing for the several plans:

  • Medication and care counseling: $99 a month
  • Therapy: $259 a month
  • Medication and therapy: $325 a month

How much is Brightside?

Brightside has a similar price point in terms of therapy and medication. These prices might change depending on additional fees like appointments, insurance, or medication delivery. New users may get their first month for $249 before it switches to the original cost of $299.

Below are the costs of each plan:

  • Therapy plan: $299 a month
  • Medication: $95 a month
  • The combination plan: $349 a month

Which Is Better: Cerebral or Brightside?

Brightside is a simple app that can support anyone with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or even insomnia. However, the features are limited and expensive, which may not be a suitable option for those needing sustainable treatment.

However, Cerebral is better because it has more features for a similar price. You even get breathing exercises and text messaging services to calm your mind. The compassionate and qualified therapists will remind you that you aren’t unloveable or trauma dumping.

Cerebral and Brightside vs. Alternatives

Sensa
Cerebral
Brightside
4.5
3.8
3.7

Easy mood journaling

CBT lessons

Grounding techniques

Personalized content for beginners

Reading materials

Custom exercises

Quick-Relief segments

Good selection of licensed therapists

Quick and easy

Lower cost prescriptions

Convenient mental healthcare

Easy-to-use video calls

Therapist search tools

Plenty of coping strategies taught by the therapists

Cognitive behavioral therapy lessons

Not too expensive

Easy self-care tools

Medication available

Simple and convenient

No video or audio lessons to suit a wide range of users

Paid app

Some users report glitchy audio

You can only book one week at a time

No option to pause current plans

Too many reminders

Some general lessons

Certain therapists can have busy schedules

Brand
Sensa
Cerebral
Brightside
Overall Rating
4.5
3.8
3.7
Pros

Easy mood journaling

CBT lessons

Grounding techniques

Personalized content for beginners

Reading materials

Custom exercises

Quick-Relief segments

Good selection of licensed therapists

Quick and easy

Lower cost prescriptions

Convenient mental healthcare

Easy-to-use video calls

Therapist search tools

Plenty of coping strategies taught by the therapists

Cognitive behavioral therapy lessons

Not too expensive

Easy self-care tools

Medication available

Simple and convenient

Cons

No video or audio lessons to suit a wide range of users

Paid app

Some users report glitchy audio

You can only book one week at a time

No option to pause current plans

Too many reminders

Some general lessons

Certain therapists can have busy schedules

Review

How We Tested Cerebral and Brightside

Putting apps through the testing process is important for determining their effectiveness. You can pick out each good and bad trait before committing to a paid subscription.

Below are factors we considered during testing:

Quality

Both Cerebral and Brightside have high-quality features that allow you to seek professional help from the comfort of your home. Some users report there being inaudible video recordings on the Cerebral app, but that can just depend on your internet connection and phone type.

Effectiveness

You can only judge the capabilities of these apps when testing them yourself. People are bound to have unique experiences when it comes to online mental healthcare. However, many reviews state that both apps have compassionate therapists who are willing to offer support.

Price

Brightside and Cerebral can range anywhere between $90–$300+ a month. This is very expensive compared to alternatives in the current market. Not everyone can afford these online mental health platforms, which brings down the overall score during testing.

Brand reputation

Cerebral is there to help you through “whatever challenges you are facing” when dealing with mental disorders. Brightside believes that “everyone deserves thoughtful and effective care” in their lives. This just proves that these two brands truly care about making customers happy.

A Word From a Psychologist

You should find an app that caters to your personal preferences. Not everyone wants to book appointments or chat with therapists over a video call. Consider the effect of online mental health services and how they could support your health, provide treatment, and be sustainable.

Remember that mental health disorders don’t just include anxiety and depression. Apps need to support those with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, OCD, stress, and others. This is something to look into when finding the best mental healthcare in today’s wellness industry.

To further improve your mental health, consider going for morning walks. Regular exercise can especially help people with depression and anxiety. It might be worth creating a workout routine that fits around your therapy plan, as you can go to appointments feeling more refreshed.

Consult with your primary care physician before signing up for any medication management. A medical professional could detail the benefits and downsides of each app. You don’t want to fall into the trap of scams since many mobile apps want money rather than a customer’s happiness.

Conclusion

So, which app is better for your mental health?

Both Cerebral and Brightside have unique features that support your emotional needs. You should always choose an app that could have positive long-term effects. In this case, Cerebral seems like a better option for those who need help with a wide range of mental disorders.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
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.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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