Top 6 Online Psychiatrist Platforms for 2023

Dr. Serenity
March 30, 2023

Top Online Psychiatrist Platforms of 2023

If you’re looking for a convenient way to access board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners for the treatment of mental illnesses, online psychiatrist platforms may be the solution. In this article, we have researched and compared the most popular online psychiatrist platforms to help you find the best one for you. We will be comparing features, pricing, session types, and listing the pros and cons of each platform.

Understanding the Difference Between Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists

It is important to note that psychiatrists are sometimes confused with online therapists and psychologists. Although all three can treat mental health conditions, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Psychiatrists focus on the biological aspects of mental illness and can prescribe medication. In contrast, psychologists and therapists cannot prescribe medication, although there are some states that allow psychologists to do so if they receive additional training.

Our Top Picks for Online Psychiatry Services

Best Overall Online Psychiatrist Service: Brightside  – If you’re looking for a comprehensive online psychiatry service, Brightside is our top pick. Their platform offers psychiatry, therapy, and medication management services. They also have a personalized treatment plan for each patient and offer follow-up care.

Best Online Psychiatrist That Takes Insurance: Zocdoc – Zocdoc is a popular online psychiatrist platform that accepts insurance from a variety of providers. They also offer a range of services, including psychiatry, therapy, and medication management.

Best Online Psychiatry Platform for No Insurance: Sesame – Sesame is a great option for those without insurance. Their platform offers a variety of psychiatry services, including medication management and therapy, at affordable prices. They also have on-demand appointments available.

Best Online Child Psychiatrist for Kids 10 and Up: MDLive – MDLive is a great platform for children’s mental health services. They have board-certified child psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners available for children 10 years old and up. They also offer therapy and medication management services.

Best Budget-Friendly Online Psychiatry: LiveHealth Online – LiveHealth Online is a budget-friendly option for online psychiatry services. They offer psychiatry, therapy, and medication management services. They also accept most insurance plans, and their pricing is competitive.

Best Online Psychiatrist App: Doctor on Demand – If you’re looking for an app-based online psychiatry service, Doctor on Demand is our top pick. They offer a range of mental health services, including psychiatry and therapy, through their easy-to-use app.

Final Thoughts

Online psychiatrist platforms can be a great option for those seeking convenient and accessible mental health services. When choosing a platform, consider your personal needs and preferences, such as insurance coverage, pricing, and type of services offered. With our top picks for online psychiatry services, you can find the right platform for your mental health needs.

Comparing the Best Online Psychiatry Platforms in 2023

Online psychiatry platforms offer a convenient way to access board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs) who can evaluate and treat mental illnesses from the comfort of your home, office, or other private space. We’ve researched and compared the top online psychiatry platforms in 2023, including their costs, appointment types, availability, insurance acceptance, and providers, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

Platform: Brightside

  • Cost: $95 per month for medication management; $349 per month for therapy plus medication; $15 or pharmacy copay per prescription
  • Appointment Types: Video; unlimited messaging for medication plus therapy plan
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs

Platform: Zocdoc

  • Cost: Depends on the provider
  • Appointment Types: Video
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants

Platform: Sesame

  • Cost: Depends on the provider
  • Appointment Types: Video
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: No
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants

Platform: MDLive

  • Cost: $284 for the initial visit; $108 per follow-up visit
  • Appointment Types: Video; telephone
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrists

Platform: LiveHealth Online

  • Cost: $175 for the initial evaluation; $75 per follow-up visit
  • Appointment Types: Video
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrist

Platform: Doctor on Demand

  • Cost: $229 for the initial consultation; $129 per follow-up visit
  • Appointment Types: Video
  • Availability: Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes
  • Providers: Board-certified psychiatrist

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the best online psychiatry platform for you, consider factors such as cost, appointment types, availability, insurance acceptance, and the type of providers available. Reviewing our comparison of the top online psychiatry platforms in 2023 can help you make an informed decision and receive the mental health care you need from the convenience of your home or private space.


Top Online Psychiatry Platform: Brightside


  • $95 per month for medication management
  • $349 per month for therapy plus medication
  • $15 or pharmacy copay per prescription

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Session Types: Live video; unlimited messaging for medication plus therapy plan

Qualifications: Board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs


  • Optional medication plus therapy plan for comprehensive treatment
  • Proprietary technology helps providers personalize prescriptions
  • Offers an app for iOS devices
  • Has 45-minute online therapy sessions and 30-minute psychiatry sessions


  • Can be costly if you want medication plus therapy
  • Doesn’t offer an app for Android devices

Brightside is the best online psychiatrist service overall, offering personalized treatment for anxiety and depression through psychotherapy and medication. Evidence suggests that combining psychotherapy and medication for depression may be more effective than either treatment alone, according to the APA.

The platform’s exclusive technology, PrecisionRx, analyzes a patient’s medical history and symptoms to help providers recommend medication. Brightside coordinated an external analysis published in January 2022 in the journal Cureus, which indicated that the response rate of patients to the first medication recommended was 50 percent higher than a leading U.S. health system’s.

Brightside has providers who treat a range of conditions related to anxiety and depression, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, insomnia, bipolar II, and postpartum depression.

Treatment Plans:

  • Therapy plan
  • Medication plan
  • Medication plus therapy plan

If you want to work with a psychiatrist, you’ll need to sign up for the medication-only plan or medication plus therapy plan. The medication-only plan matches you with a psychiatric provider licensed in your state, who could be a psychiatrist or a psychiatric NP. Psychiatric NPs have either a master’s or doctorate degree and experience working as a licensed nurse, according to If you want to see a psychiatrist who specializes in a specific concentration, you can contact the Brightside support team and request a change.

The medication plus therapy plan includes the medication-only plan as well as unlimited messaging and a weekly video session with a licensed therapist. This plan provides access to in-depth psychotherapy and appointments with a psychiatric provider for medication.

Brightside accepts insurance, including Aetna and Cigna. Without insurance, the costs are broken down as follows:

  • Medication Plan: $95 per month ($45 for the initial month), plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you have insurance prescription benefits; medication is mailed to your home
  • Therapy Plan: $299 per month ($249 for the first month); includes unlimited messaging and four monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist
  • Medication Plus Therapy: $349 per month, which is $45 less than purchasing each plan alone ($249 for the initial month), plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you have insurance prescription benefits

Unlike other online psychiatrist platforms, Brightside does not offer an app for Android devices. You can access the platform by using a browser on your mobile device. Video calls take place via Zoom.

Brightside’s providers cannot prescribe medications that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as controlled substances, including amphetamine (Adderall), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin), among others. Brightside’s providers can prescribe medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors at their discretion.


Best Online Therapy That Accepts Insurance: Zocdoc

Cost: Varies by provider

Accepts insurance: Yes

Session types: Live video

Qualifications: Board-certified therapists, psychologists, counselors


  • Supports more than 700 individual insurance plans
  • Can scan your insurance card to find your exact insurance plan
  • Can help find in-network providers with your insurance to save you the most money
  • Can find next-day appointments


  • No guarantee of an in-network provider match
  • Some reviews mention double-booked appointment times or later appointment times than offered on the website

For online therapy that accepts insurance, Zocdoc may be a great option. With over 700 individual insurance plans supported, including popular providers like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare, it can be easier to find a low-cost therapist. Zocdoc will show you the top-rated therapy options available near you, prioritizing in-network providers with early availability that work with your insurance. In-network providers have agreements with your insurance company to provide care at a certain rate, which can save you the most money, according to the Maryland Insurance Network (PDF). The exact cost of your video visit will depend on your insurance, deductible, and copay.

Zocdoc also provides out-of-network options. However, you will need to check your individual insurance plan to see if it will reimburse part of your visit.

Customizing your search is easy with Zocdoc. For instance, if you need medication management, you can find a primary care provider to take care of your medication refill without requiring a new diagnosis or medication trial. You can schedule your appointments on Zocdoc, and you will either have your video appointment through the Zocdoc website or a third-party video service, like Zoom. To explore more online therapy services that take insurance, visit Zocdoc.


Top Online Psychiatry Platform for Uninsured Patients: Sesame Care

Cost: Varies by Provider

Insurance: Not Accepted

Session Types: Live Video


  • Board-certified Psychiatrists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants


  • Mental Health Consultations available from $42
  • Prescription Refill Appointments available starting at $39
  • Some Medications available for $5


  • Appointment Prices vary by Location and Provider
  • Not Available in all States

Sesame Care is an online psychiatry platform that offers mental health consultations, telehealth psychiatry appointments, and prescription refills to uninsured patients. With a team of board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, Sesame Care provides affordable and convenient mental health services to those in need.

Prescription Refills and Mental Health Consultations: Sesame Care offers prescription refill appointments starting at $39, which can be conducted via telehealth with a popular and highly rated family nurse practitioner. Mental health consultations are available starting at $42, and you can choose from a variety of providers based on your location and preferences.

Prioritized Provider Search: When you begin your search, Sesame Care will display top online psychiatrists in your area based on same-day appointments, providers who offer $5 medications, and popular providers with positive reviews. Many providers offer convenient appointments on weekends and after business hours, making it easy to fit appointments into your schedule.

$5 Medications: Sesame Care offers several $5 psychiatric medications, including amitriptyline (Endep), bupropion SR (Wellbutrin SR), bupropion XL (Wellbutrin XL), buspirone (Buspar), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), duloxetine DR (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac), hydroxyzine hydrochloride (Atarax), mirtazapine (Remeron), nortriptyline (Pamelor), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), and venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR).

Cancelation Policy: Sesame Care allows you to cancel appointments up to three hours before the scheduled time. If prescribed medication, Sesame Care will deliver your medication for free to your door. However, appointment prices may vary by location and provider, and the platform may not be available in all states.

In summary, Sesame Care is an excellent choice for uninsured patients seeking affordable and convenient mental health services. With mental health consultations starting at $42, prescription refills starting at $39, and $5 medications available, Sesame Care provides quality care at a reasonable price.


Top Online Child Psychiatrist for Children 10 and Up: MDLive

Cost: $284 for initial visit, $108 per follow-up visit

Accepts insurance: Yes

Session types: Live video, telephone

Qualifications: Board-certified psychiatrists


  • Available for children ages 10 and up
  • Pay-as-you-go plan with no contract or monthly subscription required


  • No home delivery for prescriptions
  • No on-demand appointments available

MDLive is a telehealth platform that offers comprehensive medical and mental health care services, including therapy and psychiatry. Their board-certified psychiatrists specialize in treating children ages 10 and up, with parental consent. This service can be beneficial for parents looking to provide their children with professional help, especially since more than half of children in the US with treatable mental health disorders do not receive treatment from mental health professionals, according to a study published in December 2019. This shortage is attributed to a lack of child psychiatrists, with 70% of US counties lacking one.

To schedule an appointment with an MDLive psychiatrist, create an account and answer a few questions about your location and your child’s health concerns. Then, browse the directory of psychiatrists and select a convenient appointment time. Many of MDLive’s psychiatrists offer evening and weekend appointments, which can be convenient for parents scheduling appointments outside of school hours. According to our reviews team’s April 2022 survey of 1,000 online therapy users, 35% of respondents considered evening and weekend availability the most important factor when choosing an online therapy platform.

MDLive does not offer on-demand mental health appointments, and the wait time for an appointment varies depending on your chosen provider’s schedule and the number of providers licensed in your state. During the session, parents of children under 18 must be present at the start to provide consent, but the provider will determine if the parent should stay for the rest of the session. If the psychiatrist believes medication is necessary, they will write a prescription and send it to your preferred pharmacy for you to pick up. The cost of the medication depends on your pharmacy’s charges and whether you have an insurance copay. MDLive psychiatrists cannot prescribe DEA-controlled substances or medications with potential for abuse.

MDLive accepts insurance from multiple providers, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana. Registering for an account is free, and you can check if your insurance is accepted. Without insurance, the initial consultation costs $284, and follow-up visits cost $108 for medication management, which will be scheduled by your psychiatrist.


Best Affordable Online Psychiatry: LiveHealth Online

Cost: $175 for the initial evaluation; $75 per follow-up visit

Accepts insurance: Yes

Session types: Live video

Qualifications: Board-certified psychiatrist


  • Lower fees than other online psychiatrists
  • Ability to search for psychiatrists who are available nights and weekends


  • No home delivery for prescriptions
  • No subscription plans

LiveHealth Online provides affordable psychiatry services, with rates of $175 for the initial evaluation and $75 per follow-up visit. If you have insurance, the cost can be even lower, as LiveHealth Online accepts most Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. Prescriptions are subject to pharmacy fees and insurance copays. LiveHealth Online psychiatrists are unable to prescribe DEA-controlled substances.

Signing up with LiveHealth Online is quick and easy. You can browse the directory of profiles and qualifications to find a provider who specializes in your clinical interests, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, or PTSD. Once you have selected a provider, you can schedule an appointment from your computer or mobile device, or by calling a toll-free number. During our test, we registered for an account in just a few minutes and were presented with a psychiatrist available on Sunday, with three different time slots to choose from.

In addition to online psychiatry, LiveHealth Online also offers a pay-per-visit online psychology platform for talk therapy. These sessions cost $80 to $95, depending on the provider. LiveHealth Online is a good option for individuals seeking affordable online mental health care. To learn more about other affordable online therapy options, including those that provide medication management, read our guide.


Top Online Psychiatry App: Doctor on Demand

Cost: $229 for initial consultation; $129 per follow-up visit

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Session Types: Live video

Qualifications: Board-certified psychiatrist


  • Highly rated by users on Apple and Google app stores
  • Availability of appointments on nights and weekends


  • One of the more expensive online psychiatry providers
  • No subscription plans

When looking for the best online psychiatry platform, positive reviews were the most important factor for many users. Doctor on Demand offers a user-friendly app that received the highest ratings among the platforms we considered, with 4.9 out of 5 stars on the Apple app store and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google Play. The platform can also be accessed through a browser on your laptop or tablet. However, reviews on the BBB and TrustPilot were less favorable, with ratings of 1.22 and 1.5, respectively.

Doctor on Demand’s app is easy to use. After downloading it, you only need to enter your name, phone number, gender, and date of birth to begin. The app then uses your location to find board-certified psychiatrists licensed in your state. You can filter your search results based on factors such as appointment availability, language spoken, and focus area, such as grief or postpartum depression.

The app also makes it simple to verify insurance benefits. By entering your member ID and group ID in the app, Doctor on Demand will confirm your coverage and inform you of the cost of each session. If your employer provides coverage for this service, you can input that information during sign-up. Without insurance, the platform charges $299 for the initial 45-minute visit and $129 for each 15-minute follow-up visit.

You can easily manage your prescription through the app if your psychiatrist prescribes medication. It took us less than a minute to find and save our local pharmacy’s information. The cost for prescriptions depends on how much your pharmacy charges and whether you have an insurance copay. Doctor on Demand’s psychiatrists cannot prescribe DEA-controlled substances.


Understanding Online Psychiatry: A Guide to Telepsychiatry

Online psychiatry, also known as telepsychiatry, is a type of mental health care that connects individuals with licensed psychiatrists through virtual platforms such as video calls, phone consultations, email messaging, and text messaging. With telepsychiatry, patients can receive psychiatric treatment and medication management from the comfort of their homes or any location with internet access.

The primary objective of online psychiatry is to offer greater convenience and access to mental health care, particularly for individuals living in rural or remote areas with limited access to psychiatric services. Additionally, online psychiatry may be beneficial for individuals with mobility issues, those who have difficulty traveling to appointments, and those experiencing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Numerous studies have shown that telepsychiatry is as effective or more effective than in-person treatment for mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder (MDD). In a literature review published in the Community Mental Health Journal, 14 studies on telepsychiatry for MDD found that telepsychiatry was equally effective or more effective than in-person treatment. The review also found that telepsychiatry had similar or higher levels of patient satisfaction compared to in-person treatment.

Overall, online psychiatry has emerged as an accessible and effective means of receiving mental health care, and its popularity is expected to continue growing in the coming years.


Differences Between Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists: Which Mental Health Professional Is Right for You?

If you’re seeking mental health care, you may wonder whether you should see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. Although they all work in the field of mental health, there are differences in their education and the types of care they offer. Here’s a breakdown of the three types of mental health professionals and what you can expect from each.

  • Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialized training in psychiatry. They can diagnose and treat complex mental health conditions, often with medication management. Psychiatrists can also provide psychotherapy, but they usually focus on managing medication, with follow-up appointments for medication management.

  • Psychologist

Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology, either a PhD or a PsyD, and they are not medical doctors. They diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health conditions, learning disabilities, and behavior disorders through therapy. Psychologists use evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, and humanistic therapy to help individuals manage their mental health.

  • Therapist

A therapist is an individual trained in one or more types of therapy to treat mental or physical disorders or diseases. The term “therapist” is often used interchangeably with “psychotherapist.” Therapists include psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. They use various forms of therapy, including talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy, to help individuals work through emotional or behavioral problems.

Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional

When seeking mental health care, it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. If you require medication, a psychiatrist is the best option. If you prefer to manage your symptoms without medication, a psychologist or therapist may be more suitable. Additionally, consider factors such as cost, location, and availability when selecting a mental health professional. Online mental health platforms offer convenient and affordable access to psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists, making it easier to find the right care for you.

What Conditions Can an Online Psychiatrist Treat?

According to the World Journal of Psychiatry, online psychiatrists can diagnose and treat a range of mental health conditions just as they can in person. These may include depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Online psychiatry can be particularly beneficial for individuals living in remote or underserved areas, or those with mobility issues.

However, it is important to note that online psychiatry may not be the best option for emergencies or if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harm to others. In such situations, it is recommended to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Can Online Psychiatrists Prescribe Medication?

Yes, online psychiatrists who are licensed in your state can prescribe medication for the treatment of mental health conditions. However, it is important to note that some states have restrictions on online prescribing, and may require an in-person evaluation before moving to telepsychiatry.

The practice of prescribing medicine is regulated by state medical boards. To better understand the online prescribing requirements and restrictions in your state, it is recommended to contact your state medical board.

Can Online Doctors Prescribe Controlled Substances?

Online doctors have the ability to prescribe controlled substances for mental health treatment, although not all telemedicine platforms may offer this service.

Controlled substances are medications that are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the United States. In order to prescribe these substances, doctors are required to register with the DEA. Due to the potential for addiction and abuse, controlled substances are subject to stricter regulations than other medications.

It is important to note that some online psychiatry platforms have come under scrutiny for their prescribing practices. For instance, Cerebral, a telepsychiatry platform, has been criticized for its controlled substance prescribing practices.

If you are seeking controlled substances for mental health treatment through an online doctor, it is crucial to ensure that the provider is registered with the DEA and authorized to prescribe controlled substances. Taking the time to verify this information can help ensure that you receive safe and effective treatment.

What is the Cost of an Online Psychiatrist?

The cost of online psychiatry services varies widely, typically ranging from $75 to $300 per session.

Generally, the initial evaluation is more comprehensive and therefore more expensive than follow-up appointments. For instance, MDLive charges $284 for the initial visit and $108 per follow-up visit.

It is worth noting that if you have health insurance that covers online psychiatry, your out-of-pocket cost may be significantly reduced or even completely covered. In some cases, insurance may cover the full cost of treatment.

Before scheduling an appointment with an online psychiatrist, it is recommended to check with your insurance provider to determine if online psychiatry services are covered under your plan, and if so, what your expected out-of-pocket costs will be. This can help you plan and budget for your mental health care needs.

Does Health Insurance Cover Online Psychiatry?

Several telepsychiatry platforms accept health insurance, including Brightside, Talkspace, and providers listed on Zocdoc. Each online psychiatry service typically publishes a list of the insurance carriers they work with on their website.

It is important to note that just because a specific online psychiatrist accepts insurance, it does not necessarily mean that they are in-network with your insurance provider. Out-of-network providers typically cost more. Additionally, your insurance plan may have a deductible or copay that could affect your total cost.

It is also worth noting that insurance carriers may choose to cover or not cover your appointment based on medical necessity at the time of service. In general, health insurance plans consider services that are involved in the diagnosis, treatment, or cure of health conditions, illnesses, diseases, or injuries and are part of accepted standards of general medical care to be medically necessary. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners provides an article (PDF) that further explains this concept.

To ensure that you understand your benefits and to avoid any unexpected costs, it is recommended to contact your insurance provider before and after your first appointment. This can help you understand your coverage and ensure that your claims are submitted in a timely manner.

In addition to insurance, you may also be able to use your HSA (Health Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) to pay for online psychiatry appointments. Contact your account provider to confirm whether this is an option for you.

Tips for Choosing an Online Psychiatrist

If you have decided to seek the help of an online psychiatrist, there are several important factors to consider when selecting the right platform and provider. Some key considerations include:

  1. Cost: You will want to ensure that the cost of sessions fits within your budget. Take into account the initial evaluation cost as well as any follow-up appointment fees.
  2. Privacy: Check whether the online psychiatry service provides a private area for sessions that ensures confidentiality and protects your personal information.
  3. Provider Flexibility: Consider whether the platform offers the ability to change psychiatrists if you are not satisfied with your current provider. Additionally, assess whether they have the flexibility and accessibility to offer sessions at times and days that work for you.
  4. Insurance Benefits: If you plan to use insurance to pay for your sessions, ensure that the online psychiatry service accepts your insurance provider and understand your out-of-pocket costs.
  5. Online Reviews: Take the time to read online reviews from previous clients of the online psychiatry service. Reviews can offer insight into both the positive and negative aspects of the provider, helping you make an informed decision.

By considering these factors, you can choose an online psychiatrist that best fits your unique needs and helps you achieve your mental health goals.

What to Expect During Your First Online Psychiatry Consultation

If you’re considering virtual psychiatry for the first time, you may be curious about what to expect during your initial consultation. Fortunately, most online psychiatric platforms provide detailed information on the process and what you can anticipate during your first appointment. Here’s what to expect:

  1. Health history evaluation

During your initial virtual psychiatric appointment, the primary focus will be on discussing your health history and developing a treatment plan. The psychiatrist or psychiatric NP may ask you about the following, according to University Hospitals:

  • Behaviors that trouble you, when they occur, how long they last, and what triggers them
  • How these behaviors affect your work, school, and relationships
  • Physical and mental health symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Personal and family health history, including mental health
  1. Treatment plan development

Once your health history and mental health evaluation are complete, the psychiatrist or psychiatric NP will discuss a treatment plan with you. This plan may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both, as well as a follow-up schedule. Just like during in-person visits, if you and the psychiatrist mutually decide on medications, they can send a prescription electronically to the pharmacy of your choice or directly to your home, depending on the platform.

  1. Additional considerations

During your first virtual psychiatry appointment, you may want to ask your provider about the following:

  • The estimated duration of your treatment plan
  • Possible side effects of medications
  • The duration of each session and how frequently you should schedule follow-up appointments
  • Alternative treatment options to consider
  • Any questions or concerns you have about the treatment process

In conclusion, your first virtual psychiatry appointment will focus on developing a personalized treatment plan based on your health history and mental health evaluation. Be sure to ask questions and discuss any concerns you have with your provider to ensure a successful treatment experience.

Important Considerations When Choosing an Online Psychiatrist

If you’re considering seeing an online psychiatrist, there are several important factors to consider when choosing the right platform and provider. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Cost of Sessions and Budget – The cost of sessions is an important factor to consider when choosing an online psychiatrist. Online psychiatry services can range from $75 to $300 per session. Keep in mind that the initial evaluation is usually more expensive and comprehensive than follow-up sessions. If you’re on a tight budget, consider platforms that offer lower-priced options.
  2. Private Area for Sessions – Privacy is a crucial aspect of online psychiatry. Ensure that the platform and provider you choose offer a secure, private area for sessions that allows you to communicate with your psychiatrist confidentially.
  3. Ability to Change Psychiatrists – It’s essential to have the flexibility to change psychiatrists if you’re not satisfied with your provider. Make sure to check the provider’s policies regarding switching psychiatrists.
  4. Flexibility and Accessibility of Session Times – The flexibility and accessibility of session times and days are also important considerations. Ensure that the provider you choose can accommodate your schedule and time zone.
  5. Insurance Benefits – If you plan to use health insurance to cover online psychiatry sessions, it’s essential to verify that the provider accepts your insurance plan. Out-of-network providers are typically more expensive, and you may have a deductible or copay that could affect your total cost. Also, keep in mind that insurance carriers can choose whether or not to cover your appointment based on medical necessity at the time of service.
  6. Online Reviews – Finally, consider online reviews of the platform and provider you’re interested in. Positive reviews can provide insight into the quality of care and level of satisfaction of previous patients, while negative reviews can help you identify potential red flags.

Our Method for Researching and Evaluating Online Therapy Platforms

At our reviews team, we take the task of recommending online therapy platforms seriously. We thoroughly examine any service that we research and suggest, including the online therapy market, and we only endorse online therapy platforms that we believe can make a positive impact on our readers’ mental health.

We begin by conducting extensive research on prominent brands in the market. We collect real customer experiences from trusted third-party review sites such as the BBB and Trustpilot. Additionally, we consult with independent psychologists and other mental health professionals to gain a better understanding of why people seek out online therapy. We also review the latest research on the effectiveness of online therapy versus in-person therapy.

When evaluating each company, we consider various factors such as the types of sessions offered, the modes of therapy specialization, the therapists’ qualifications, the business reputation and customer satisfaction, the registration process, and the user-friendliness of the platform. Price, payment options, and insurance acceptance are also critical components that we take into account. We aim to recommend a range of options for all budgets, with particular emphasis on affordability for lower-income individuals.

After our experts select the best online therapy platforms available, we take the additional step of having a practicing and independent licensed therapist audit each company. This final review ensures that every selection we recommend is appropriate for the users we identify. Our ultimate goal is to provide our readers with a list of online therapy platforms that they can confidently turn to for their mental health needs.

The Bottom Line:

Convenient and effective mental health treatment and medication management can be accessed through online psychiatrists. However, it is important to note that not all telehealth and online mental health platforms have psychiatrists, so be sure to check the fine print before signing up, especially if you require medication management. All the platforms included in this roundup allow you to request a provider who can prescribe psychiatric medications, such as a psychiatrist or psychiatric NP.

When comparing providers, Brightside is a good option for people new to therapy and medication management. If you have insurance, consider Zocdoc for psychiatry telehealth appointments, while Sesame may be a better choice for those without insurance, especially given its $5 anxiety and depression medication offering. For minors seeking psychiatric care, our top pick is MDLive, as the platform’s board-certified psychiatrists treat individuals ages 10 and up with parental permission. LiveHealth Online is a good option if cost is a priority, as it was found to be the most important factor when choosing a platform, according to our survey of online therapy platforms. If you prioritize convenience and a highly rated app, Doctor on Demand is our recommendation.

In Case of Emergency: Where to Seek Help

Introduction: If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, it’s important to seek help immediately. While online therapy can be a valuable resource for many people, it’s not always the best option in urgent situations. Here are some resources to turn to if you need immediate help.

1: Call 911 in Emergencies

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis that puts you or others in danger, call 911 immediately. This includes if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, or if you are experiencing a psychotic episode or severe panic attack. Emergency responders are trained to provide immediate assistance and connect you with the appropriate mental health resources.

2: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. You can call them at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor. They offer confidential support and can help connect you with local resources for ongoing treatment.

3: SAMHSA National Helpline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental health or substance abuse disorders. You can call them at 800-662-HELP (4357) for assistance.


It’s important to seek help immediately if you are experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis. While online therapy can be a helpful resource for many people, it’s not always the best option in urgent situations. Remember, resources like 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the SAMHSA National Helpline are available 24/7 for immediate support and assistance.

Author Dr. Serenity

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