Talkspace vs Meru Health (Which one should you choose?)
This article will compare the features of Talkspace and Meru Health. Both these platforms deliver mental health care online and have sky-rocketed in popularity especially after the pandemic. While Talkspace provides mental health care session by session, Meru Health offers treatment through a structured program.
In this table, you will be able to visualize the various features that these two mental health giants offer as well as clearly understand the differences between both of them.
|Types of services||Therapy and Psychiatry||Therapy and Psychiatry|
|Pricing||Min 260 USD||700 USD for the program|
|Payment options||All major credit or debit cards, HSA, FSA||All major credit cards and debit cards|
|Age group||13 years and above||18 years and above|
· Talkspace is easily accessible
· It is affordable
· It offers therapy and psychiatry
· There are no group sessions here
· Messaging therapy is not for everyone
· It requires technology and devices
· It uses a holistic approach
· It is scientifically proven
· It is cost-effective
· Many might find the program impersonal
· The response time is not guaranteed
· There is no pause option
Talkspace was founded and launched in 2012 with an aim to make therapy and counseling accessible and affordable for everyone. The platform is a baby of Roni and Oren Frank. As they faced many challenges while seeking therapy for their own troubles, they decided to create a space which makes mental health care easy and quick to use.
Picture credit: Talkspace
The result was Talkspace, which has now grown to include psychiatry services as well. In Talkspace, the user is matched with a suitable therapist using smart artificial intelligence. The user can also communicate with the therapist through messaging, audio therapy sessions and video therapy sessions.
In addition to the live therapy, Talkspace also offers psychiatry services and thus becomes a one-stop shop for all needs related to mental health care. Both these services are eligible for insurance coverage through a variety of in-network providers. Talkspace currently provides mental health care to more than 1.5 million clients and this number is only growing day by day.
About Meru Health
Meru Health was founded in 2016 by Kristian Ranta and Albert Nazander as a solution for depression by making mental health care more structured and accessible. Meru Health offers a program through which those living with depression and other mental health conditions can learn coping strategies and other healthy behaviors.
Picture credit: Meru Health
The intervention program has been designed with a holistic approach in mind and thus not only aims at the mind alone but other aspects like diet and exercise as well. Through Meru Health, many individuals and organizations have experienced an improvement in mental health as well as mental performance.
Meru Health is best experienced through the app which is full of self-care tools and mental exercises and techniques. The program can go on for a period of twelve weeks or eight weeks and has been scientifically proven to improve mental health. This program includes therapy, psychiatry, self-care as well as biofeedback.
Best features of Talkspace
Talkspace provides a wide range of advantageous features for anyone trying to make improvements in their mental health. The platform is essentially a one-stop for all needs related to mental health and mental health care. The best features that users can expect to encounter in Talkspace have been elaborated in the points below:
High ease of use
There is high ease of use on this platform. Even those who are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety can easily manipulate the features and find mental health care. The platform can be accessed from any web browser or even through an app and thus brings great amounts of convenience and comfort to anybody with a mental health condition.
Great client-therapist fit
The rapport between the client and the therapist is essential for the effectiveness of therapy and Talkspace clearly understands this. To bring about a better fit between the user and the mental health professional, Talkspace takes the valuable input from an algorithm that uses the client’s information to find a suitable therapist for them.
Several formats of therapy
There are also several formats of therapy that are present in Talkspace. And thus, users do not have to solely depend on one mode of communication to express their needs and feelings. In Talkspace, users can have live therapy sessions through live chats, live audio sessions and even live video sessions as per their convenience and preference.
There is also a feature for couples therapy that is present in Talkspace. Couples therapy is not only indicated for married couples but can also be useful for those who are dating each other or are planning to get married to each other. Through this form of therapy, partners can learn to communicate better and thus lay a strong foundation for their relationship.
Therapy for teenagers
Teens therapy is another feature that is offered in Talkspace. In this type of therapy, teenagers between the ages of 13 years to 18 years can experience professional guidance and emotional support. Teens therapy can particularly be helpful for those adolescents who have experienced trauma or undergoing stress and anxiety due to problems in the family.
A sleep program
Talkspace has an amazing sleep program to offer for its users. In this sleep program, individuals who are finding it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night will learn behavioral techniques and coping strategies to help them rest better. This sleep program goes on for a period of eight weeks and has been found to be immensely useful for many.
Unlimited messaging is a unique feature that Talkspace allows it all of its plans. Unlimited messaging allows the user to send any number of messages to their therapists who are guaranteed to respond a certain number of times during the week. The messages can also be sent as texts, audio messages and video messages.
Talkspace aims to make mental health care affordable and thus accessible for all classes of society. To make this dream a reality, it allows insurance coverage in all its plans. The insurance coverage is made available through several in-network providers such as Cigna, Optum and Humana.
Talkspace not only provides therapy services but also psychiatry services for its users. Psychiatry is necessary for those who live with mental health conditions like severe depression and schizophrenia that require medications or drugs for the management of symptoms. The psychiatry services of Talkspace are also eligible for insurance coverage.
High levels of security
Users of this platform definitely do not have to worry about their privacy and confidentiality as Talkspace is completely HIPAA compliant. The platform has been fitted with strong security features like end to end encryptions, two-step authentications and firewalls. There are no in-person sessions and thus nullifies the risk of physical violence from either party.
Best features of Meru Health
Meru Health offers a large number of features in its multi-step program for depression. The various features that this program offers have been described in this section.
Meru Health can be used on the go
Through Meru Health, mental health care can be availed even while on the go. The app allows the user to communicate with their therapists through chat anytime they wish to. Furthermore, the exercises and tools that are inbuilt in the app can be accessed at any time. This can be highly convenient for those who have very busy schedules which make it difficult for therapy.
The program is structured
Unlike traditional mental health, the intervention in Meru Health is completely structured and organized. This means that the user is clearly aware of what they are getting into and when the program will start and end. This makes the mental health care process itself more effective as the user is goal-oriented and highly driven.
It offers therapy
While the Meru Health program is structured and filled with plenty of coaching and tools, it also offers psychotherapy services. The therapists in Meru Health are completely licensed and certified and thus qualified to provide high quality mental health care. The therapist can be communicated with through easy chats offering several formats.
It provides psychiatry
Meru Health not only offers therapy services but also provides psychiatry consultations. Psychiatry services may not be required by all. But those who are suffering from mental health conditions like severe anxiety and mood disorders can greatly benefit from medications and drugs.
It allows peer support
Anonymous peer support is another unique feature that is provided in Meru Health. This is provided in the means of a support group where participants can share their experiences and also share other coping strategies and tools to help others. The anonymity of this group can also increase participation and thus help in socialization.
It provides a biofeedback device
The package comes with a biofeedback device that can help the user understand when their emotions are flaring up and also when they are being regulated. Biofeedback can help the user understand themselves better and can also help them check progress. This biofeedback device can be worn on the ear and detects heart rate variability.
It has mindfulness practices
The Meru Health program is also equipped with plenty of mindfulness exercises and activities that can help the user attain a higher sense of self-awareness. Through mindfulness, the user will be able to concentrate and focus better and also relax. The great thing about mindfulness is that it is highly versatile and can be used anywhere.
It offers nutrition and dietary advice
Another superb thing about Meru Health is that it provides nutrition and dietary advice particularly aimed at good mental health. Our moods can often change according to the food we eat and are particularly dependent on gut health. The nutrition advice available in the Meru Health program is aimed to be long-lasting and thus can become a permanent healthy habit.
It helps in sleep quality
The quality of sleep is another factor that the eight week or twelve week long program in Meru Health focuses on. Sleep is an issue that many individuals struggle with. While some may have problems falling asleep, others may get up often through the night and thus will not be able to rest properly.
It is HIPAA compliant
Meru Health takes the privacy and security of its users very seriously and ensures HIPAA compliance. HIPAA compliance is a must in all telehealth platforms as the data of the user needs to be protected against hackers and misuse. The data related to the users and also their progress in the program is stored in the medical records of Meru for high levels of security.
Pricing of Talkspace
The costs of Talkspace depend on the location of the user and also the type of plant that they are opting for. The platform offers mainly three types of therapy plans in which the Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus plan is the cheapest while the Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate plan is most expensive.
Talkspace can cost anywhere from $260 to $393 per month and the amount can be reduced if the user is choosing for a lengthier subscription. In addition to this, Talkspace also offers insurance coverage through a wide variety of in-network insurance providers such as Optum, Humana and Cigna.
Pricing of Meru Health
Meru Health can be availed at an average cost of $700 for the entire program. This price is much lesser when compared to other mental health programs covering similar topics. The Meru Health program can be availed only upon referral by a health professional. The platform also allows insurance coverage through many in-network providers.
Signing up for Talkspace
It is pretty easy to sign up for Talkspace and the platform makes this super simple. Those who want to subscribe to the plans of Talkspace simply have to go to the website or the app and click on the ‘Get Started’ option. Once the user has provided personal details, they will be directed to a private room with a consultant therapist who will guide them in the following steps.
Signing up for Meru Health
To sign up for the Meru mental health program, users can go to the website and click on the ‘Sign up’ option. In the first page, you will need to provide your name, your email address, your phone number and your date of birth. You will also need to mention your location at which you will be residing for the next three months.
Once the user has been enrolled on their own or through a referral, they will receive an onboarding call within 1-4 days. The user will also receive a download link through an email for the Meru app. In addition, the biofeedback device connected to the mental health program will be shipped to the address of the user or participant.
When the biofeedback device has been received, the user can start the program formally. The user will also be connected to a peer support group and will be put in touch with a psychiatrist.
Tips for Talkspace
Talkspace offers plenty of features in a single space and this can be overwhelming for many users. Some suggestions to help users in their Talkspace experience are listed below:
Talkspace offers many different formats of live therapy, such as live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. Explore these and find what suits your personality and style the best.
- While in a live therapy session, ensure that you are using a space that is quiet and undisturbed. It is best if you create a space just for therapy at home which you can also double as a self-care area for your mental health.
- Before starting therapy, you can create a set of therapy goals which are realistic and achievable. These will serve as motivators for your mental health care and also help you determine your progress as the therapy proceeds.
- All the plans in Talkspace offer unlimited messaging as an option. This can be used to improve expression, articulation of feelings and even develop accountability in therapy.
Tips for Meru Health
Meru Health offers a splendid program that has been proven to help those who are battling depression. A few tips from previous participants of the Meru mental health program have been described as follows:
- Use the blog that is provided on the Meru Health website. This blog is filled with numerous articles and content that brings many insights that can help you outside of your therapy program.
- The mental health program will teach you various mental exercises and coping strategies. Use these strategies even after your daily session in the platform and in outside social situations so that they become part of your routine.
- The program ultimately aims to help you learn many healthy habits that can become permanent residents of your life. In your time at the program, understand your personal goals and how these habits can help you achieve them. This can act as motivation and also provide you with direction.
- Don’t forget to keep checking on the peer support program of Meru Health. This is not only for emotional support but can also be a great resource for learning other behavioral techniques and tools.
Personal experiences in Talkspace
Some of the personal experiences that users have had in Talkspace have been summarized in the following points:
- Most users have felt that the onboarding process of the platform is quite simple and the steps are pretty easy to follow. Users have also been able to access mental health care in a much lesser span of time when compared to traditional settings.
- Many users have complained about the customer support team of Talkspace, that they are very late with their responses.
- The app extensively uses artificial intelligence to improve the user experience. However, many users have expressed discomfort with this as they feel like their privacy is being violated in the platform.
- Some users of Talkspace have disliked the messaging feature as real-time conversations with the therapist are not always possible. The therapist may also be able to respond for a limited number of messages, which is another letdown of the app according to several users.
Personal experiences in Meru Health
Since its launch, Meru Health has helped thousands of individuals improve their mental health. Testimonials and reviews from different participants of the Meru mental health program are encapsulated as follows:
- Participants in the Meru Health program have felt that they are now ready to face any type of challenging situation as they are armed with the right coping strategies and mental skill sets.
- Most users of the Meru Health app have experienced an improvement in their overall quality of life and self-care as the structure of the program is aimed at all areas of life and not just mental health alone.
- Some participants in the program have felt that the program itself is too impersonal. This is especially as the real-time conversations with a therapist are limited to very few and the rest of the program is conducted automatically.
- Many users of Meru Health have felt that the app prompts and coerces the user to complete the tasks and exercises. The program also cannot be paused for a certain amount of time, giving the user a feeling of uncontrollability and forcefulness.
While Talkspace and Meru Health are definitely two great platforms for mental health care, the choice between these two depends completely on the needs of the user. Talkspace has no proper structure for the therapy, other than the sleep program. On the other hand, Meru Health is famous for its eight or twelve week mental health program which is strictly structured.
Talkspace can be great for anyone who is seeking mental health care over which they can have more ownership. The platform gives the reins to the user completely and they can decide when they want therapy and in what format they would like the therapy in. Talkspace can also be superb for those who require a combination of therapy as well as psychiatry services.
Meru Health offers a structured program which has been proven to work. This program is filled with numerous strategies and exercises which aim to make permanent positive changes in the participant’s life. This can be great for anyone who feels like they need constant support and guidance throughout the course of their recovery to better mental health.
BetterHelp: A Better Alternative
Anyone who is seeking a great platform for mental health care must try out BetterHelp. BetterHelp is by far the most popular platform for online therapy today and has almost two million clients. In this platform, users can find services for individual therapy, couples therapy and teens therapy.
The platform also provides group sessions that can be availed at no cost for the users of BetterHelp. While the platform does not have insurance coverage, it certainly offers financial assistance that can reduce the costs of subscription by up to 25 per cent. This financial aid can be availed by those who are unemployed, disabled or have veteran status.
Frequently asked questions:
Does insurance cover Talkspace?
Yes, insurance coverage is available for Talkspace through several in-network providers including Cigna, Optum and Humana.
Can you use Talkspace for free?
No, you cannot use Talkspace for free as the platform does not offer free services or even a free trial period. However, the plans of Talkspace are pretty affordable and can also be paid through insurance.
How much does Meru Health cost?
Meru Health can cost an average sum of $700 for the entire mental health program. The cost of the program can vary depending on the number of weeks that the user requires.
Is Meru Health legit?
Yes, Meru Health is a legit company that offers mental health care to anyone who is suffering from depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions.
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