Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

In this post, we will be comparing the services offered by two tele-health giants in the mental health field, Talkspace and Brightside. Platforms like Talkspace and Brightside have gained immense popularity after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Both these platforms offer therapy, as well as psychiatry services at very cost-effective rates.

Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)
Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

While Talkspace and Brightside may share a very similar outlook, there are many factors that differentiate the two as separate entities. The differences between these two platforms have been mentioned in the following table for easier viewing.

 Feature  Talkspace  Brightside
 Types of services  Therapy and Psychiatry Therapy and Psychiatry
 Pricing  Min 260 USD Min 299 USD
 Payment options   All major credit or debit cards, HSA, FSA All major credit or debit cards, HSA, FSA
 Insurance   Available Available
 Age group  13 years and above 18 years and above

Talkspace

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr... x
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Pros

  • It is covered by insurance
  • It offers therapy and medications
  • It provides couples therapy and teens therapy

Cons

  • It may be costly for those who do not have insurance
  • It does not offer group therapy
  • Messaging therapy is not popular with everyone

Brightside

Pros

  • It offers more live sessions per month
  • It focuses on self-care
  • Medications are shipped directly home

Cons

  • It does not offer phone sessions
  • It cannot be used for high-risk conditions
  • It does not offer family therapy

About Talkspace

Talkspace is a mental healthcare company that was launched in 2012 as a solution to the present crumbling mental health care system. This platform was founded by Roni and Oren Frank who themselves faced plenty of challenges while seeking therapy for their relationship problems. This inspired Roni Frank to pursue a master’s degree in psychotherapy and then launch Talkspace.

Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

Picture credit: Talkspace

Talkspace, which originally developed as a group therapy solution and a couples counseling platform, offers a lot more today. In Talkspace, users can find therapy as well as psychiatry services. In addition to therapy for individuals, the platform also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers.

The therapy itself is provided through several formats, such as chats, phone sessions and video sessions which are all live. The platform also offers unlimited messaging in different modes. The costs of Talkspace are quite affordable and the company ensures this further by providing insurance coverage for all its plans.

About Brightside

Brightside was launched in early 2019 as a tele-medicine service specifically for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. Through Brightside, users could consult a psychiatrist and get their medications delivered right to their doorstep. Since its launch, the platform has gone on to include therapy services and self-care.

Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

Picture credit: Brightside

The prices of the therapy services in Brightside are pretty cost-effective and the platform also offers insurance coverage for its users. There is a number of plans available in the Brightside platform to which extra live sessions can be added à -la-carte. The platform also allows live therapy sessions to be conducted through high quality video streaming.

The psychiatry services in Brightside are also eligible for insurance coverage and these offer high convenience as the medications are directly send to the address of the user. In addition to these, the platform also offers a splendid symptom tracker which users can utilize to note their progress over the course of their treatment.

Best features of Talkspace

Talkspace offers a plethora of features that can be highly beneficial for anyone who is looking for high quality mental health care. Some of the most unique and advantageous features of this platform have been explained in the points below.

Talkspace offers remote access to therapy

Through Talkspace, therapy can be availed from practically anywhere and also at any time. Remote access to therapy is made easily available since the platform operates completely online. This can be a haven for those who live in remote areas or even those who are not able to leave the house often due to various reasons.

It offers therapy through various formats

The therapy in this platform is available through various formats that the user can choose from according to their needs and their conveniences. Users can opt to have their therapy sessions as live chats, live audio sessions or live video sessions. Furthermore, they will be able to send a limitless number of messages to their therapists at any time.

Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

Picture credit: Talkspace

There are several plans to choose from

Talkspace offers several plans for its users to choose from. The most basic plan is the Messaging Therapy plan in which users can send any number of messages to their therapists. The Live therapy plan allows the user four live sessions while the Live + Messaging Therapy plan offers unlimited messaging and also live sessions. 

 

Insurance coverage is available

In-person therapy can be quite expensive and insurance coverage may not be accepted by many therapists. However, those who have insurance do not have to worry about the expense of therapy in Talkspace as the platform offers coverage. Talkspace has tied up with a large number of insurance companies, including Cigna, Optum and Humana.

Talkspace offers couples therapy

Couples therapy is another feature that is offered in Talkspace. Couples therapy or couples counseling, in this platform, is conducted through a group chat between the partners and the therapist. The live sessions are arranged based on the availability and needs of both the partners and has been found to be quite useful for many.

 

Therapy for teens is also available

Teenagers can also avail therapy in Talkspace. This therapy is reserved for those adolescents between the ages of 13 years to 17 years. To use this type of therapy, the teenager should upload a video of their parent or guardian providing consent for their treatment. Therapy for teenagers is necessary as this age group often experiences a high level of stress due to many factors.

 

Talkspace is HIPAA compliant

HIPAA compliance is another important factor that users often look forward to in online therapy platforms. This will ensure that the platform protects the identity and all the information related to the user. Talkspace is completely HIPAA compliant and makes sure that the communication between the user and the therapist is encrypted end to end.

It has an insomnia program

Those who are suffering from insomnia can greatly make use of the sleep program that Talkspace offers. This program goes on for a duration of eight weeks in which the participants learn various behavioral techniques and cognitive strategies to help them sleep better. Sleep hygiene is another component that is taught in this program.

It brings a great client-therapist fit

The rapport or relationship between the client and the therapist is a strong determinant of the effectiveness of the therapy process. Talkspace ensures that the fit between the client and the therapist is strong through the use of an algorithm. The algorithm uses the information provided by the user at the time of signing up.

Talkspace offers access to other tools

In addition to therapy, Talkspace also offers many other resources. Users of this platform have unlimited access to Happify Health in which there are plenty of self-help guides and tools. Furthermore, the blog of Talkspace is religiously updated with fantastic content related to mental health and mental illness.

Best features of Brightside

Despite its relatively late entry into the online therapy field, Brightside has created quite a large consumer base already. Brightside is quite popular as it has plenty of aspects that can be gainful for anyone who is trying to improve their mental health status. The main traits of this platform have been explored as follows.

 

It has a great evaluation plan

Brightside ensures that everything that is done for the user is evidence backed and scientific in nature. And thus, in addition to a questionnaire about mental health and emotional health, the user is put in touch with a medical doctor as well as a therapist to help them decide the next plan of action for treatment. Thus, users in Brightside can notice that they are off to a great start.

Brightside offers numerous plans

There are various plans to choose from in Brightside. Those who only want medication can opt for the ‘Medication’ plan. Those users who want exclusive access to therapy sessions in Brightside can opt for the ‘Evidence-based Therapy’ plan. The platform also offers the best of both worlds through the ‘Medication +Therapy’ plan.

The medications are shipped home

The psychiatry services in Brightside are conducted by experienced and licensed prescribers. The great thing about this service is that users can opt to have their medications shipped directly to their home. This can save them an inconvenient trip to the pharmacy. Those who want it at their local pharmacy can also choose to do so in this platform.

It offers quick access to mental health care

Unlike traditional mental health care facilities which require plenty of waiting for the user, Brightside offers quick and easy access to mental health care. Users can expect to connect with a psychiatrist in a matter of 24 hours to 48 hours. They can also commence their therapy sessions in a matter of days.

There are different formats of therapy

Brightside offers its users mainly two types of therapy formats. Users can opt to have their therapy sessions through messaging. They can also choose to have live video sessions for a period of thirty minutes. In addition to this, users can also add extra live video sessions if they wish to.

It offers a symptom tracker

In Brightside, users can track the progress of their symptoms as well as their side effects through an app called ‘Your Path’. This app is completely scientific and provides an objective view into the user’s progress which their doctor or therapist can then use to make further treatment recommendations.

It has various skill-building lessons

Brightside offers skill-building lessons in addition to therapy and medications, which gives it a serious leg-up when compared to other online therapy platforms. These skill-building lessons focus on creating permanent healthy habits among users, which can go much farther than therapy and medication put together and thus can enrich all aspects of life.

Talkspace vs Brightside (Which is the better choice?)

Picture credit: Brightside

It can be covered by insurance

While Brightside was definitely late to provide insurance coverage for its users, it has incorporated this into its platform from 2021. Insurance coverage is made available through a tie-up with in-network providers such as Cigna and thus can seriously reduce the costs of mental health care for all users.

The Brightside app is pretty easy to use

The Brightside app has a pretty good rating on app stores, mostly due to its ease of use. Most users have felt that the app is intuitive and a joy to experience. Those who are suffering from anxiety and depression can also easily use this app when they are mentally frustrated, with no hassles at all.

It has great customer service

The customer service of Brightside has been hailed to be one of the best in the online therapy industry. The support provided by this feature in Brightside can come in handy for not only responding to customer queries and complaints, but by also ensuring a seamless mental health care service.

Pricing of Talkspace

Those who wish to purchase a subscription for the therapy services in Talkspace can expect to shell out $276 to $396 per month. The costs of subscription can greatly reduce if the length is increased to a half-yearly or an annual subscription. The costs of subscription can greatly reduce through insurance coverage.

Talkspace mentions explicitly that the price of its therapy plans can vary from location to location as well as the availability of licensed therapists in the local area. It can also depend on the type of plan that the user is choosing from. The Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus plan is the cheapest while the Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate plan is the most expensive.

 

Pricing of Brightside

Brightside offers mainly three different plans for its therapy and psychiatry services. The pricing of each of these plans are as mentioned below.

The Medication Plan

This plan costs $95 per month and new users can get $50 off their first months. The medications are prescribed by a licensed provider and are shipped to the home of the user directly or to their local pharmacy as per their convenience.

The Evidence-based Therapy Plan

This plan costs $299 per month and $50 off the first month for new users. In this plan, the user can communicate with their therapists through unlimited messaging and also have weekly live video therapy sessions. The users can add extra video sessions if they wish to.

The Medication + Therapy Plan

The Medication + Therapy Plan costs $349 per month and new users can get $100 off in their first month. In this plan, users can avail both therapy as well as medication from Brightside. Statistics have shown that users have experienced a better chance of recovery while using this plan of Brightside.

 

Signing up for Talkspace

Signing up for Talkspace is pretty easy and very simple. New users have to go to the Talkspace website or download the app and click on the ‘Get Started’ option. This will direct them to a landing page where they will be asked basic details like their name and their date of birth. New users will also have to create a username or a nickname with which they can use the platform.

Once this has been completed, the user will be directed to a questionnaire which will ask details about their mental and emotional health. They will be then put across to a consultant therapist who will brief them about the platform’s services and also inform them about the matching process. When the match has been completed, users can commence their therapy immediately.

 

Signing up for Brightside

Brightside exudes a scientific data-based vibe from the first step itself. New users of the platform will have to take a free assessment about their mental health and their emotional issues. This will take a very short span of time, for about a couple of minutes. The results will be shown to the user after they will be asked to consult with a psychiatrist from the platform.

In addition to this, the user will also be asked to consult with a therapist. The mental health professionals will then create a personalized plan for the user and communicate it to them. The next step will be a formal video consultation session where the user will be directed to the treatment plans of the platform.

Tips for using Talkspace

Talkspace can be overwhelming, especially due to the large number of features that are provided in this platform. Some tips to help new users get acclimatized to Talkspace at a faster rate are provided as follows.

  • Talkspace offers various formats of live therapy sessions. In order to ensure that you get the very best out of these, it is advisable that you create a quiet space just for these live sessions in your home. This can also double as your self-care area, further contributing to your mental health.
  • In this platform, you have access to unlimited messaging therapy with your therapist. This can be greatly useful for not only communication between you and your therapist but as a way for healthy venting and also for creating accountability. 
  • Many users also utilize the unlimited messaging feature to create reminders about topics they might want to discuss in their next live therapy session.
  • While in your live video session, ensure that you look directly into the camera as you speak. This will help in mimicking natural eye contact which is very important for communicating your thoughts and feelings in a much more effective manner.

Tips for using Brightside

Brightside certainly provides plenty of attributes that can be positive for mental health. But it can be confusing for new users, especially if they are new to the field of online therapy itself. To make the Brightside experience much smoother, users can utilize the suggestions mentioned below.

  • Brightside allows weekly video sessions in its therapy plan. While this may be plenty for many, you can always choose to add extra video sessions if you wish to communicate more with your therapist.
  • The video sessions in Brightside are for a time-limit of thirty minutes. This cannot be easy for everyone, especially those who find it difficult to articulate their thoughts and feelings. In order to sort your thoughts before your live session, you can always write them down and create talking points.
  • You can also communicate these talking points using the unlimited messaging that the platform provides so that, both you and your therapist does not forget them.
  • To help you learn from your therapy sessions better, you can maintain a therapy journal in which you can record your reflections and learning points. This journal can also be used to write down the various mental exercises that you learn in the self-care lessons that the platform provides.

Personal experiences in Talkspace

Users have had differing experiences in Talkspace, although mostly positive in nature. Some of their experiences have been summed up in the following points.

  • Many users have felt that while the platform certainly does it make therapy easy, it can take a lot of time to get used to it. This is especially for those who are new to online therapy altogether.
  • Most users have expressed satisfaction for the high levels of convenience and comfort that the platform provides, especially for those individuals who cannot leave the house often.
  • Partners who have taken part in the couples therapy program in Talkspace, have found that the platform makes the intervention quite easy even if both the partners have different schedules.
  • Some users have complained about the delayed customer support system that Talkspace provides, mentioning that the support team does not respond adequately and also makes refunds very difficult.

Personal experiences in Brightside

Brightside  has been consistently providing high quality mental health care ever since its founding. The various types of experiences that users have had in this platform have been described in the points below.

  • Many users have complained about the restriction of prescription of controlled substances like Adderall. This has irked many those who suffer from ADHD who could definitely use medication like Adderall. However, there are plenty of non-stimulant alternatives for those who are battling conditions like ADHD.
  • Most users have enjoyed the Your Path app that Brightside provides. Through this, they are able to better track their symptoms as well their side-effects, thus providing concreate facts for themselves as well as their mental health professionals.
  • Those who have used the psychiatry services of the platform have thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of having their medication shipped to their residences, saving them a trip to their local pharmacy. The refills are also automatically shipped for the duration of the treatment.
  • However, a large percentage of users have expressed that the time-limit of thirty minutes of live therapy is pretty less, especially when other competitors of Brightside offer up to an hour.

Conclusion

Talkspace and Brightside are both amazing platforms for online therapy and psychiatry, especially for those who find in-person mental health care inconvenient or very expensive. While both of them certainly have many similarities, they also have a few differences thus bringing them a different set of followers each.

Talkspace has been in the game for quite a while now and has gained immense popularity ever since. In Talkspace, users can have live chats, live audio sessions and even live video sessions for their therapy needs. In addition to therapy for individuals, there is couples therapy and teens therapy also offered in this platform.

Brightside is a great option for individuals who are seeking therapy for themselves in a much more objective manner. The platform provides continuous feedback related to the progress of the user, thus increasing the effectiveness of the intervention. Brightside also has an extensive array of self-care tools that can help users in other areas of their lives as well.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

If you are on the lookout for an amazing platform that offers superb mental health services, we would highly recommend BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers individual therapy services, couples therapy services and even therapy for teenagers. Furthermore, the platform also provides group therapy sessions that are conducted about once a week.

The subscription to BetterHelp is pretty affordable and while there is no insurance coverage here, the platform provides financial assistance to those who are unemployed, disabled and even those who have veteran status. The financial assistance needs to be renewed every three months and can reduce the costs of therapy by up to 25 per cent.

Frequently asked questions:

What does Brightside prescribe for anxiety?

For those who are suffering from anxiety, Brightside can prescribe safe substances like SSRIs and even SNRIs. However, controlled substances like Xanax are not allowed to be prescribed using this platform.

Does Brightside treat bipolar?

Yes, Brightside can treat bipolar. The prescribers in this platform mostly prescribe Lamotrigine to treat bipolar disorder, which can stabilize the mood of the individual in a safer manner.

Does Brightside treat OCD?

Yes, Brightside treats OCD through medication as well as therapy. Those who have OCD can find great benefit in antidepressants which are prescribed through this platform. In addition, they can also use the therapy services provided in this platform along with a large collection of self-help exercises.

Is Talkspace HIPAA compliant?

Yes, Talkspace is completely HIPAA compliant and uses security features like end to end encryption and multi-step authentication in order to safeguard the identity and the information related to the user.

Can you use Talkspace anonymously?

Yes, you can use Talkspace anonymously. The platform encourages users to create a username or a nickname with which they can use the services provided by the platform. This feature is important as there are still plenty of stigmas attached to mental health and mental illness.

If you like this post, please leave your comments and questions below.

Citations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talkspace
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/talkspace
https://benefits.baesystems.com/document/45
https://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/talkspace-case-study/
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/brightside-health
https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2021/06/01/23andme-executive-founded-brightside-raises-24m.html
https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/06/14/the-top-5-mental-health-startups-of-2020.aspx
https://pitchbook.com/profiles/company/230600-89

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