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Much of our lives happens online these days: work, shopping, happy hours, brunches, workout classes, trivia nights… so why not visits with a psychiatrist?

Telemedicine, including teletherapy and telepsychiatry, is a popular way to take care of your health and wellness needs in a virtual world.

When you’re in need of some mental health help, telepsychiatry (online psychiatry) is a great alternative to in-person treatment. It’s especially helpful in these strange quaran-times, when going out to see a doctor may seem less than ideal.

To help you figure out if online psychiatry is right for you, we’ve narrowed down the top online psychiatry services.

Telepsychiatry and teletherapy are both forms of mental health telemedicine, which is basically a video meeting for your health. This is a way for healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose, or treat patients remotely.

While not every condition can be taken care of via video or phone (if you break a bone, a trip to the doc is obviously necessary!), many ailments are just a click away from being treated in the comfort of your home.

Online psychiatry does the same thing… but for your mental health. Instead of driving to your psychiatrist’s office, you can easily and efficiently communicate with them via video, phone, or sometimes a text chat. You get the same great service you would in person, but you get to stay at home (or wherever you feel most cozy!).

Psychiatrists are medical doctors, so they can prescribe medications to treat a diagnosed condition (unlike some psychotherapists). This means psychiatrists can provide medication management, not just talk therapy.

Here are some reasons an online psychiatrist might be a good fit for you:

  • You need a psychiatric diagnosis.
  • You need one or more medications prescribed.
  • Your current meds are causing unpleasant side effects, and you’re looking for a change.
  • Your primary care physician is great, but you need someone with a more specific focus on mental health.
  • You want a second opinion.

It’s important to note that online psychiatrists canNOT prescribe any controlled substances. You’ll need to make an in-person appointment for that.

Many telehealth services provide psychiatric support. We’ve rounded up the best options.

We looked at quality, reliability, ease of use, and user ratings to bring you this list of top-notch online psychiatry services.

All our picks are U.S.-based, with board certified psychiatrists who can diagnose your condition and prescribe any treatment necessary, including medications. They also offer a collaborative care approach, so you have the option to work in partnership with your psychiatrist and your primary care physician.

Many of these services also offer other types of telehealth appointments, like psychotherapy, general medical support, dermatology, and more.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $75
  • $$ = $75–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

FYI: Telepsychiatry costs may be determined per session or on a weekly/monthly basis. Some providers also charge a one-time fee for your initial consultation or evaluation, which is not reflected in this guide.

1. LiveHealthOnline.com

  • Price: $$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video

LiveHealth Online is a full-service telemedicine provider offering medical, allergy, psychology, and psychiatry support. It’s free to sign up, and you pay only for the sessions you have.

LiveHealth has thousands of board certified psychiatrists, and you get to choose who you see based on your needs. LiveHealth’s doctors are available days, nights, and weekends to best serve you, making it easy-peasy to schedule an appointment.

Unlike LiveHealth’s medical services, psychiatric services aren’t available immediately — you may have to wait up to 14 days for an appointment. Additionally, you must be over 18 to use the psychiatric services.

Learn more about LiveHealthOnline.com.

2. MDLive

  • Price: $$$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video, phone, and app

MDLive is fast and easy, and you can generally see a psychiatrist within a matter of days, not weeks. You choose your own doc and aren’t limited by your geographical location — you get your pick of any of MDLive’s U.S. psychiatric providers. Most of the certified psychiatrists are available nights and weekends, making it convenient for any schedule.

While MDLive’s medical and dermatological services offer on-demand appointments, its behavioral services don’t, so you’ll need to schedule a time to see a psychiatric professional in advance. MDLive also doesn’t provide care for psychiatric patients under age 10.

Learn more about MDLive.

3. Rethink My Therapy

  • Price: $/month
  • Takes insurance: No
  • Format: Video, phone, and messaging

Rethink My Therapy has the best bang for your buck. While this service doesn’t take insurance, the low-cost monthly subscriptions give you unlimited sessions throughout the month. There’s also a free 14-day trial, which is a no-risk way to see if the service is a good fit for you.

Unlike other tele-providers, Rethink My Therapy focuses solely on mental health, also offering therapy for individuals, couples, and families. Its therapy options are available for kids, but its psychiatric services are only for those over age 13.

Learn more about Rethink My Therapy.

4. Talkspace

  • Price: $$$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video

Talkspace is one of the top-rated online therapy providers, boasting high profile clients like Michael Phelps.

To use Talkspace, you chat live with a Matching Agent, who will pair you with a psychiatrist who fits your needs. They’re like a matchmaker for your mental health!

You can book an appointment up to 48 hours in advance (but no sooner). Once your mental health love connection is made, you’ll schedule any follow-up appointments directly with your provider.

Talkspace offers services for folks 18 and up. Sessions happen only via video in the Talkspace platform, and you’ll need a mobile device or tablet with a good Wi-Fi or network connection to use it.

Learn more about Talkspace.

5. Teladoc

  • Price: $$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video, phone, and app

With Teladoc, you’ll fill out a simple questionnaire that will match you with a list of possible providers. From there, you’ll get to choose who you want to see.

Teladoc’s providers are available 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., so you’ve got lots of options for when you can see a doc.

You can’t schedule a specific appointment time, though — instead, you’ll share what times you’re open, and your chosen doc will get back to you with what works for them within your availability.

Learn more about Teladoc.

6. Amwell

  • Price: $$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video

Amwell’s team of psychiatrists can provide assessment, evaluation, and treatment options.

You get to choose your provider from among hundreds of highly qualified psychiatric professionals who are available 365 days a year (many with night and weekend openings), so scheduling is super easy and convenient.

The service is available nationwide, so you’ll be able to see a doctor no matter where in the U.S. you are. But it can take up to 14 days (usually less, though!) to get an appointment.

You have to be 18 or older to use the psychiatric services, but Amwell is working on adding services for children in the future.

Learn more about Amwell.

7. Doctor on Demand

  • Price: $$$/session
  • Takes insurance: Yes
  • Format: Video

Doctor on Demand is available 7 days a week, so you’ll have no problem booking a psychiatric appointment that’ll work for you.

This service offers complete mental wellness care and certified professionals of all specialties (each with an average of 15+ years of experience) so that you feel taken care of.

If you’re not sure whether psychiatric or therapeutic care is right for you, Doctor on Demand offers a quick and free (who doesn’t love free?) assessment to check in on your mental health. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll get easy-to-read results to help you decide what kind of care you need to live your best life.

Learn more about Doctor on Demand.

Online psychiatric appointments are just like in-person appointments, except you have the luxury of being where you feel most comfy (did someone say sweatpants?). And not to worry: Your session will still be private and confidential, even though you and your doc aren’t in the same room.

Depending on the service you’re using, you’ll log in or receive a link at the time of your session. (See the platform you’ve chosen for specific details on how it delivers services.)

During your sesh, your psychiatrist can:

  • diagnose mental health conditions
  • prescribe meds
  • give a psychological evaluation
  • create treatment plans
  • make referrals to other services, if needed
  • schedule a follow-up appointment

As with an in-person appointment, you’ll want to come prepared. Make sure you have any relevant info at the ready, like any meds you’re currently taking and things you want to be sure to discuss.

What about an online psychiatric evaluation?

In most cases, you’ll start your journey with a consultation or evaluation. This will typically last 45 minutes to an hour and may include a questionnaire or test for you to fill out. It’s important that you answer honestly and completely to better help your provider help you.

This initial session lays the groundwork for future sessions. It gives your psychiatrist an overview of your mental well-being and how they can best approach helping you achieve your mental health goals.

Just like in-person mental health services, online psychiatric help has both benefits and drawbacks.

The good:

  • It’s safe, private, and confidential.
  • It’s more affordable. The services themselves are generally more cost-effective, and you’ll also save on transportation and possible time away from work.
  • It’s way flexible. No driving (or public transpo), no time off from work, no wearing pants (just be mindful of camera angles)!
  • It’s more widely accessible, so if you don’t live near a provider, you still have access to quality mental healthcare.

The not-so-good:

  • Some services choose a psychiatrist for you rather than letting you choose for yourself. (But if it’s not a good match, you do have the option to swap!)
  • Some insurance plans don’t cover telepsychiatry visits.
  • Psychiatrists can’t prescribe (or give refills of) controlled substances via telemedicine.
  • While your sessions are private and confidential, the internet is… well, the internet. Be mindful that security breaches can happen.

In a word: Yep.

While the telehealth field is still relatively young, telepsychiatry has been found to be just as effective as in-person sessions. A 2016 review concluded that both patients and providers have been satisfied overall with telepsychiatry services.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, telepsychiatry is just as effective as in-person care when it comes to providing an accurate diagnosis, determining effective treatment, and delivering quality care.

So if online psychiatry sounds like a good fit for you, you’ll still get all the benefits of an in-person visit, on your time and in your space.

Many services provide psychiatric care online. While we recommend the ones listed above, it’s up to you to do your homework and decide which service is best for you so you can get the care you need.

If you’re in a crisis or having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, contact an emergency support service immediately, such as 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.