Brightside Therapy Reviews and Costs in 2023: Get Affordable Mental Health Care Today!

Dr. Serenity
April 11, 2023

Brightside Therapy: Comprehensive Review of Reviews and Costs in 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Brightside offers therapy, medication, and combination plans
  • All subscriptions include unlimited messaging and self-care videos
  • Proprietary technology helps providers prescribe effective medication
  • Monthly subscriptions cost between $95 and $349

Brightside is an online therapy platform that specializes in treating adults aged 18 and above with mental health conditions. Our review covers everything you need to know about Brightside’s comprehensive therapy plans, including its innovative technology for prescribing medication. Brightside’s services include treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and postpartum depression. We also provide information on insurance options and available medications, as well as what to expect with each plan.


Brightside Online Therapy: Pros and Cons


  • Insurance accepted
  • Flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) can be used
  • All subscriptions include self-care videos
  • Proprietary technology helps providers prescribe effective medication
  • Available in all states
  • Less expensive than Talkspace psychiatry
  • iOS app available


  • No guaranteed option to switch therapists
  • Only offers video therapy, no audio-only or live chat sessions
  • Medication plan more expensive than Cerebral
  • No Android app available


How Does Brightside Online Therapy Work?

If you’re looking to start treatment with Brightside, the first step is to complete a free online questionnaire. The questionnaire takes less than a minute to fill out and asks about your anxiety and depression symptoms and how they impact your daily life. You’ll need to provide basic information such as your name, email address, and ZIP code to see your results. Based on your answers, Brightside will give you an anxiety score and a depression score, which will help you track your progress with your provider.

After seeing your anxiety and depression scores, you can choose to start treatment with a medication plan, therapy plan, or a combination of both. Brightside offers free self-care lessons that you can access without creating an account or providing any payment information. Once you choose your plan and click the “Start Treatment” button, you’ll be asked a few questions about your medical history, including any history of seizures, schizophrenia or psychosis, or attempted suicide.

Based on your medical history answers, you may see a message that says, “Treating certain more complex or severe conditions requires closer interaction with a clinical provider. To explore antidepressant medication or other clinical treatments, we recommend that you visit your primary care doctor.”

If Brightside can provide you with care based on your medical history, you’ll be asked to provide your payment information and schedule an appointment. Our review team was able to find an appointment within 48 hours.

Every two weeks during your subscription, you’ll be prompted to retake the same questionnaire you completed during your initial assessment. This will help you and your provider track your progress over time. Your anxiety and depression scores will be stored in a chart on your Brightside portal, which you can access at any time. Your provider will also reference this chart to see how well your treatment plan is working.

Brightside collects personal health information to provide treatment, but it takes reasonable precautions to protect it from any improper disclosures. The company may share your information with providers for treatment purposes, insurance providers for payment purposes, or for scheduling and appointment purposes with providers, and for any judicial or administrative proceedings in accordance with all relevant laws.

In addition to anxiety and depression, Brightside also treats related conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, insomnia, bipolar 2, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety disorder.


Brightside Medication Plans

According to Stephen Gilman, MD, an addiction psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, individuals with depression or anxiety may experience symptoms that affect their relationships, financial stability, work, and social life. The goal of medication for treating depression and anxiety is to alleviate symptoms so that individuals can function better in their daily lives.

Brightside medication plans begin with an intake assessment that captures over 100 data points. This assessment includes your family medical history, stressors, the primary symptom you want to focus on, support systems in your life, and any previous mental health diagnoses or medications. This information helps your provider understand which medications may work best for you.

After the intake assessment, you will schedule an appointment via your patient portal. During your first appointment, you’ll have a 30-minute evaluation with a Brightside psychiatric provider to discuss the best path forward for you. Your provider may recommend therapy before using medication or as a complementary treatment method instead of using medication alone.

It’s important to note that not everyone will receive a prescription for medication. Brightside providers only prescribe medication if it is safe, effective, and appropriate for your specific situation. If your provider decides against medication, you may or may not receive a refund for your appointment, depending on the case.

If medication is deemed the right approach, your provider will follow the American Psychiatric Association guidelines for prescribing medication. This involves an initial psychiatric assessment that evaluates your psychiatric symptoms, trauma history, psychiatric treatment history, substance use, suicide risk, risk for aggressive behavior, cultural factors, overall medical health, quantitative assessment of symptoms, and your involvement in treatment-making decisions.

Your provider will also consider information from its clinical decision-making tool, called PrecisionRX, before prescribing medication. The tool analyzes the data points from your initial intake assessment to suggest medication options that are most likely to be effective for you.

Brightside’s approach to identifying medication options for patients has shown promising results. A study published in January 2022 in the journal Cureus found that patients using Brightside to treat depression had a 50 percent higher response and remission rate compared to those receiving treatment as usual for depression from a large Midwestern health system (Brightside funded the study, and its employees co-authored the report).

In conclusion, Brightside medication plans prioritize the safety and effectiveness of treatment for individuals struggling with depression and anxiety. The intake assessment, clinical decision-making tool, and adherence to American Psychiatric Association guidelines ensure that patients receive personalized care and medication options that have shown promising results.

Brightside Medications: What You Need to Know

Brightside is a mental health platform that offers medication management for individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Brightside providers prescribe medication on a case-by-case basis, taking into account each patient’s individual needs and preferences. Here’s what you need to know about the medications available with Brightside.

  • Commonly Prescribed Medications

Some of the most commonly prescribed medications by Brightside providers include nonaddictive medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These medications are typically used to treat depression and anxiety. For patients with bipolar disorder, antipsychotic medication like ziprasidone (Geodon) and antiseizure medication such as divalproex (Depakote) may be prescribed.

If you have questions about a specific medication, you can contact [email protected] to inquire before signing up.

  • Controlled Substances

Brightside providers do not prescribe any mental health medications that are considered controlled substances, including Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, and Tramadol, as well as generic versions of most medications. Controlled substances include both illegal and legal drugs and are assigned rankings from 1 to 4, also called “schedules.” According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the lower the schedule, the higher the risk for abuse and dependence on the drug.

How to Get Your Brightside Prescription

Every medication prescribed by Brightside costs $15, or whatever amount your pharmacy copay is if you’re using insurance, plus the $95 monthly fee. Brightside can ship medication to your door or your local pharmacy for pickup at no added cost. Your first prescription may take 7 to 10 business days to arrive.

  • Follow-Ups and Refills

Your provider will follow up with you as they deem necessary before authorizing monthly refills. The frequency of these follow-ups is up to the provider and depends on whether you’ve been on the medication before, how you’re feeling on the medication, and how you’re tolerating potential side effects.

  • Messaging Your Provider

If you have questions about your treatment plan or medication, you can message your provider with questions at any time. You can also use your online portal to access information about your medication, such as potential side effects, and request a review of your treatment plan if you feel it may be off track. This may involve a video follow-up with your psychiatric provider to discuss your treatment plan. Your subscription includes unlimited video follow-ups.

Brightside Therapy Plan

The Brightside Therapy Plan is a comprehensive mental health care plan that offers four 45-minute sessions with your assigned therapist every month. During your first session, you will provide your therapist with essential background information about your experience with depression or anxiety. According to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the first therapy session is crucial and involves discussing why you are seeking therapy, the symptoms you have been experiencing, and your past experiences with therapy. If you wish to have additional sessions, you can purchase them for $59 each.

At your initial therapy appointment, your therapist may or may not make a diagnosis depending on your previous experiences with mental health care. For some patients who have been to therapy or on medication before, it may be easier for providers to make a diagnosis. However, for some who are new to mental health care, further evaluation may be required to make an appropriate diagnosis.

If your provider determines that this platform is not suitable for you, Brightside will refer you to local providers. Moreover, if you have insurance, Brightside will assist you in finding local providers that accept your plan.

The Brightside therapists use a version of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is known to be the gold standard of psychotherapy. This approach is the most well-researched and effective approach, according to an article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry in January 2018.

With the Brightside Therapy Plan, you can contact your provider at any time with unlimited messaging included in your membership. In April 2022, a survey conducted on 1,000 online therapy users revealed that 57% of Brightside members received responses within 24 hours. Additionally, 18% received responses within a few days, 18% received responses within a week, and only 7% of respondents regularly took more than one week to get a response.

If you are unhappy with your therapist, Brightside may allow you to switch to a different one. However, it is not guaranteed since it is based on the availability of therapists in your state. If you have any questions about switching therapists, you can always reach out to [email protected].


Brightside Medication + Therapy Plan

For those who require both medication and therapy, Brightside offers a combined plan that assigns you a care team consisting of a licensed psychiatric provider and therapist in your state. This plan includes all the benefits of the stand-alone medication and therapy plans, and you can communicate with your psychiatric provider or therapist at any time.

According to the Mayo Clinic, taking antidepressants and undergoing therapy together is often more effective than taking antidepressants alone. This is because the combination of medication and therapy can help address both the biological and psychological factors contributing to depression or anxiety.

With the Brightside Medication + Therapy Plan, your care team will work together to create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Your psychiatric provider will evaluate your medication needs and prescribe appropriate medication, while your therapist will provide regular therapy sessions aimed at addressing underlying issues and developing coping skills.

You can expect to have regular check-ins with both your psychiatric provider and therapist to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as necessary. And as with the stand-alone therapy plan, you can message your provider or therapist at any time with the unlimited messaging included in your membership.

Overall, the Brightside Medication + Therapy Plan offers a comprehensive approach to treating depression or anxiety that takes into account both biological and psychological factors.


Brightside Pricing and Payment Options

Brightside offers a range of pricing plans for its medication and therapy services. Here is a breakdown of the costs for each plan:

  • Insurance Coverage

Brightside accepts insurance from Cigna, Aetna, Allegiance, Anthem California, and Optum-United Healthcare. If you plan on using insurance, the price you pay will depend on your plan’s coverage details.

  • Medication Plan

The medication plan costs $95 per month, plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you are using insurance. With this plan, you will receive a psychiatric consultation and ongoing medication management. The cost of each medication is $15 or the cost of your pharmacy copay with insurance. Medication can be shipped to your door or shipped to your local pharmacy for no added fee.

  • Therapy Plan

The therapy plan costs $299 per month and includes four 45-minute therapy sessions per month and unlimited messaging with your therapist. If you want additional sessions, you can purchase them for $59 each.

  • Medication + Therapy Plan

The medication + therapy plan costs $349 per month, plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you are using insurance. This plan includes all the benefits of the medication and therapy plans, and you will be assigned a care team that includes a psychiatric provider and a therapist who are licensed to practice in your state.

  • Payment Options

Brightside accepts Visa, Mastercard, HSA, and FSA payments.

  • Financial Aid

Unfortunately, Brightside does not offer financial aid at this time.


Comparing Brightside to Other Online Therapy Options

When choosing an online therapy option, it’s important to compare different brands to find the best fit for your needs. Here’s how Brightside stacks up against some of its competitors:

BrandCost Per Month (Medication Management Only)Cost Per Month (Therapy Only)Cost Per Month (Medication and Therapy)Accepts InsuranceTypes of Therapy
Brightside$95; $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay$299; $59 for additional sessions$349YesVideo
Talkspace$249 for initial consultation; $125 for follow-ups$276–$516N/AYesVideo, audio, chat
BetterHelpN/A$240–$360N/ANoVideo, audio, chat
Cerebral$99*$259*$325*YesVideo, audio

*Cerebral requires an additional subscription fee that starts at $30 per month if you use insurance, depending on your insurance plan. The fee does not include the cost of any copays for provider visits or medication costs, which vary by drug and insurance plan.


Brightside offers competitive pricing for both medication management and therapy options, with the added benefit of accepting insurance. The therapy plan includes unlimited messaging and four monthly therapy sessions, and additional sessions can be purchased for $59 each. Brightside uses video therapy, while Talkspace and BetterHelp offer a variety of communication methods including video, audio, and chat. Cerebral is also an option that accepts insurance, but requires an additional subscription fee that starts at $30 per month.


Brightside Health Reviews: Platform and Customer Service

Brightside Health offers online therapy services, and we asked its users about their overall experience with its platform and customer service. Here’s what we found:

Overall Experience: According to our online therapy survey, 57 percent of Brightside customers had a mostly positive to positive experience overall.

Customer Service: 71 percent of Brightside customers had a mostly positive to positive experience with Brightside customer service, specifically.

Better Business Bureau Rating: Unfortunately, Brightside Health has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for failure to respond to 12 out of 16 complaints. It is not accredited by the BBB and has a 1.71 out of 5-star rating based on seven customer reviews.

Trustpilot Rating: On Trustpilot, Brightside Health has a 2.1 out of 5-star rating with eight customer reviews.

Brightside Health App: Brightside does not have an app.

Positive Reviews: Positive reviews for Brightside mention compassionate providers and convenient mental health prescriptions.

Negative Reviews: Negative reviews mention poor experiences with certain providers, rushed consultations, lack of responses, trouble scheduling appointments at specific times, difficulty getting prescriptions filled, and complaints of overcharging when using insurance.

Overall, while some users have had positive experiences with Brightside Health’s platform and customer service, others have reported negative experiences and challenges with the provider.


Why You Can Trust Us

At our organization, we conduct independent research to recommend products and services that we believe will enhance the lives of our readers and cater to their specific needs. To ensure that we provide reliable and unbiased reviews, we follow a thorough online therapy review methodology, which you can read in full here. We’ve invested countless hours into in-depth research on the online therapy market to bring you trustworthy information. You can trust our review because we carried out the following specific actions:

  • Conducted independent research regularly
  • Conducted mystery shopping for each of the brands
  • Reached out to the customer service teams of the brands to ask questions and measure responsiveness
  • Consulted with six leading psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
  • Examined academic research on the effectiveness of online therapy compared to in-person therapy
  • Read hundreds of customer reviews from trusted third-party sources such as the BBB and Trustpilot


The Bottom Line

Brightside’s unique medication-matching technology, adherence to CBT-focused therapy, free self-care videos, and mood and side-effect tracking make it a competitive option in the online therapy market.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression and are looking for mental health medication tailored to your symptoms, Brightside could be an excellent choice for online therapy. Additionally, if you have a plan with one of its insurance partners, it may lower your overall cost, making it even more attractive.

However, if you’re looking to switch therapists easily or have a condition such as borderline personality disorder or ADHD that it doesn’t treat, Brightside may not be the best fit for you.


In Emergency Situations

If you are in crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. This includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Help is available 24/7.

You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA line is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance abuse disorders.

Author Dr. Serenity

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