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Considering online psychiatry? Our picks for the best online psychiatry services can make your search easier.

Though it’s primarily used for medication management, telepsychiatry — aka online psychiatric care and a subset of telemedicine — also provides you with an opportunity to connect with a psychiatrist online for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health conditions.

Finding the right psychiatrist isn’t always easy. You’ll want to find someone who provides quality care and offers the right treatment, of course, but you may also have more practical considerations:

  • Are they affordable?
  • Do they accept my insurance?
  • Can they treat people in my area?
  • What do reviewers say? Do they have a trusting and harmonious relationship with their psychiatrist?

This research can feel daunting enough when you aren’t also dealing with mental health symptoms.

Our recommendations for the seven best online psychiatry providers aim to answer these questions so you can find the support you need.

If you want to jump directly to the sections for each platform, you can click the links below.

Like therapy, psychiatry is a form of treatment for mental health conditions. Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists provide support for improving your mental health and emotional well-being. These mental health professionals have different experience and training, though, so they provide different types of support:

  • Therapists provide various types of talk therapy and can’t prescribe medication.
  • Psychiatrists have a medical degree as well as training in mental health. They can prescribe medication and some also provide therapy.

Online psychiatry works similarly to a face-to-face appointment — except, of course, you won’t need to leave your home.

When it’s time for your first appointment, you’ll want to get comfortable in a quiet, private room. Once you’ve logged in to a secure video chat, phone call, or the psychiatry service’s platform, your psychiatrist will join you.

This first appointment serves as a consultation or evaluation, so they’ll likely ask about:

  • current symptoms
  • medications you’re taking
  • your medical history
  • past mental health diagnoses
  • treatments that have and haven’t worked for you

You may have some symptoms that don’t seem connected to your primary concern. Still, it’s best to share them with your psychiatrist anyway — they could offer important clues for your treatment and the right diagnosis.

Keep in mind that online psychiatry cannot help in urgent or emergency situations.

To create our list of the top online psychiatry services, we considered the following:

  • Provider qualifications. These services all connect you with licensed psychiatrists.
  • Privacy and confidentiality. These services comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and use other tools to protect your confidentiality, data, and secure information.
  • User reviews. We considered user feedback to find out whether others generally found these online psychiatry services useful.
  • Accessibility. With one exception, all of our picks are available throughout the United States.
  • Ease of use. You can access these services from your computer or via smartphone app.
  • Vetting. All services have been vetted to ensure that they meet Psych Central’s medical and business standards.

Best overall

Doctor on Demand

  • Cost: $299 for initial consultation, $129 for 15-minute follow-ups
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Therapy format: Video
  • Choice of psychiatrist: Yes

Uncertain what your symptoms could mean? Try Doctor on Demand’s free mental health assessment to get more insight before choosing from their many experienced psychiatrists.

You can make an appointment for any day of the week. Although wait times vary, appointments are often available within a few days. Reviews for the app average 4.9 out of 5 stars, suggesting many users feel very satisfied with their care.

Why we chose it

Doctor on Demand accepts a variety of insurance plans and offers a large number of experienced psychiatrists from which to choose.

What we like

  • Insurance is accepted.
  • Electronic prescriptions can be sent to your pharmacy.
  • If your clinician agrees that taking time off work or school should be part of your treatment plan, they will assist you by providing an excuse note.

What to look out for

  • Doctors cannot prescribe certain controlled substances, such as medications that have a DEA Schedule I–V or that require an in-person visit.
  • If you choose to go over the allotted 15 minutes, you’ll be billed for extra time.
  • No subscription plans are available at this time.

Best for anxiety and depression

Brightside

  • Cost: Varies, starts at $95 per month for psychiatry
  • Accepts insurance? No, but HSA/FSA payments are accepted
  • Therapy format: Video, messaging
  • Choice of psychiatrist: No, but switching is possible

Brightside psychiatrists focus on providing support for anxiety and depression, so this service may offer an affordable care option if you have symptoms of these common mental health conditions.

After a short assessment, you’ll connect with a psychiatrist to talk about your symptoms and develop a treatment plan. Brightside subscribers also have access to a free self-care program with videos on mindfulness, practicing gratitude, and other topics intended to help you build skills and decrease symptoms. Plus, you can add therapy services for an additional fee.

Customer testimonials praise Brightside’s convenient, accessible support. Brightside isn’t yet available in all states, but the service does have psychiatrists licensed to prescribe medication in 42 states. (Therapy is available in 40 states).

Why we chose it

Brightside is a convenient, quick, and accessible platform for people living with anxiety or depression.

What we like

  • Appointments are available within 48 hours.
  • Medication is delivered to your door.
  • You have unlimited access through messaging, video, and check-ins.

What to look out for

  • Only available in 42 states for medication and 40 states for therapy.
  • Therapy subscriptions are billed monthly and are nonrefundable. However, you can cancel your subscription at any point.
  • In order to receive medication, you’ll need to complete a video visit.

Best for treating a range of mental health concerns

Amwell

  • Cost: $279 for initial consultation, $109 for 15-minute follow-ups
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Therapy format: Video
  • Choice of psychiatrist: Yes

Amwell provides psychiatric care for several mental health conditions, including:

This service can usually connect you with a psychiatrist in less than 2 weeks. If typical business hours don’t work for your schedule, you can easily schedule a weekend or evening appointment.

While user reviews aren’t limited to psychiatry services, the app does have an average 4.9 star rating, and many people praise the quality of care.

Why we chose it

Amwell offers convenient mental health care for a wide variety of psychiatric conditions, as well as flexible appointments that work with your schedule.

What we like

  • Weekend and evening appointments are available at no extra cost.
  • Electronic prescriptions can be sent to your pharmacy.
  • Amwell offers collaborative care. For instance, if you see both a psychiatrist and a primary care doctor, they can work together on your personal healthcare plan.
  • The service accepts insurance.

What to look out for

  • Psychiatrists cannot directly prescribe controlled substances, but they can send a recommendation to your primary care doctor.
  • You must be 18 years or older for psychiatric care.

Best for flexible scheduling

Teladoc

  • Cost: Varies, starts at $99 per visit
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Therapy format: Phone, video
  • Choice of psychiatrist: Yes

Teladoc psychiatrists offer support for a range of mental health conditions, including:

The service’s pricing could be clearer, but insurance may help offset the cost or fully cover your appointment.

Need an appointment outside typical office hours? You can connect with a Teladoc psychiatrist between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., on any day of the week. Your psychiatrist will work with you to find an appointment slot that fits your availability and preferred times.

While Teladoc earns mixed reviews, website testimonials suggest many people find their psychiatric services both convenient and helpful.

Why we chose it

Psychiatry appointments with Teladoc are available 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. by phone or video.

What we like

  • It’s available in the United States and Canada.
  • The hours of operation are convenient and include the weekend.
  • Teladoc accepts insurance.

What to look out for

  • Psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances or medications for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
  • It may take up to 7 days to get an appointment.

Best for children and teens

MDLive

  • Cost: $284 for initial consultation, $108 for follow-up visits
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Therapy format: Phone, video
  • Choice of psychiatrist: Yes

Many online psychiatry services only offer care to adults 18 years of age or older. MDLive also provides psychiatric care to children over age 10.

Psychiatrists offer treatment for several mental health conditions, including:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • PTSD
  • bipolar disorder

Once you choose a psychiatrist, you can generally schedule an appointment for yourself or your child within just a few days.

Trustpilot users give MDLive an average of 4.7 stars, with many people praising the service and quality of care.

Why we chose it

MDLive is unique in that it’s one of the few online healthcare platforms offering psychiatric care for children 10 years and up.

What we like

  • It offers psychiatric care to children ages 10–17 (in case we haven’t mentioned it yet).
  • MDLive accepts insurance.
  • You may choose your child’s psychiatrist from a list.

What to look out for

  • The parent or legal guardian must be present at the beginning of the session to give treatment consent.
  • Since each child needs their own profile, and appointments are booked through that profile, it’s not possible to see more than one child during a single visit, though you may be able to book back-to-back appointments.
  • Psychiatrists cannot prescribe stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Best for a fast appointment

Talkspace Psychiatry

  • Cost: $199 for initial consultation, $125 for follow-up visits
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Therapy format: Video
  • Choice of psychiatrist: No, but you can switch

If you’ve ever looked into online therapy, you’ve likely heard of Talkspace. This telemental health service also offers psychiatric care online and via smartphone app. You can even combine psychiatry services with therapy.

Talkspace aims to help you get support quickly. The service matches you with a psychiatrist as soon as you sign up, so you can make an appointment immediately for anywhere from 48 hours to 3 weeks away.

Many people find Talkspace helpful, convenient, and easy to use. In fact, it’s earned some of the highest ratings among telemental health services.

Why we chose it

If you need quick support, you can schedule a psychiatric appointment with Talkspace within 2 days of signing up.

What we like

  • If you have out-of-network benefits, you can submit claims and get 50–90% of the cost back.
  • You can book sessions directly with your psychiatrist.
  • The first visit is more affordable compared with similar services.

What to look out for

  • You must be 18 years or older to see a psychiatrist.
  • Talkspace currently only works with certain insurance providers for psychiatric services, so it’s important to research ahead of time whether your insurance is accepted.

Best for a tight budget

Rethink My Therapy

  • Cost: $99 per month
  • Accepts insurance? No
  • Therapy format: Video, phone, messaging
  • Choice of psychiatrist: Yes

With Rethink My Therapy, your monthly subscription fee covers unlimited appointments (based on your psychiatrist’s availability). You can often get an appointment within a week of scheduling, and many psychiatrists offer evening and weekend appointments.

This service offers support for a number of conditions, including:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • ADHD

The company also offers pricing plans for couples and families. Adults and teens ages 13 years and older can access online psychiatric care.

Thinking of trying it out? You can take advantage of the company’s 7-day trial to see how it works for you.

Why we chose it

Rethink My Therapy offers a relatively low-cost monthly subscription plan for psychiatric care.

What we like

  • It offers a 7-day trial.
  • Evening and weekend appointments may be available (depending on your psychiatrist).
  • Appointments are available for children ages 13 years and up.
  • The company does not require copays.

What to look out for

  • It may take up to 7 days to get an appointment.
  • Psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances.

PriceInsurance accepted?Available nationwideTherapy format
Doctor on Demand$299 first visit; $129 for 15 min follow-upsYesYesVideo
Brightside$95+ per monthNoNoVideo; messaging
Amwell$279 first visit; $109 for 15-minute followupsYesYesVideo
Teladoc$99+ per visitYesYesVideo; phone
MDLive$284 first visit; $108 for follow-ups.YesYesVideo; phone
Talkspace$199 first visit; $125 for follow-ups.YesYesVideo
Rethink My Therapy$99+ per monthNoYesVideo; phone; messaging

What is the difference between teletherapy and telepsychiatry?

Telepsychiatrists, similar to in-person psychiatrists, are able to prescribe medications for mental health disorders. Most follow-up appointments with telepsychiatrists are relatively short, usually about 15 minutes.

Teletherapists, such as psychologists or counselors, cannot prescribe medication but will help you work through your challenges with talk therapy. These appointments last longer, typically around 45 minutes.

Who should sign up for online psychiatry?

Generally speaking, professional support is recommended when your symptoms begin to affect daily life and relationships, and keep you from functioning as you usually would.

Psychiatric care can be helpful in addition to psychotherapy. Your current therapist or primary care doctor may recommend a psychiatrist if you’d like to try managing mental health symptoms with medication.

Other reasons to consider talking with a psychiatrist:

  • You haven’t seen much relief from therapy alone.
  • You’re hoping to get a mental health diagnosis.
  • You’re experiencing serious mental health symptoms, such as severe depression or anxiety, psychosis (a sense of disconnection from reality), or any other symptoms that are difficult to manage.
  • Your current medication isn’t working and you’d like to try something different.

There’s no denying online healthcare increased access to treatment while COVID-19 safety precautions and distancing guidelines were in place. But — pandemic aside — online psychiatry can be beneficial when you:

  • can’t find a provider locally
  • have limited mobility
  • lack reliable transportation and child care
  • have symptoms that make it difficult to leave home
  • can’t afford an in-person appointment — telemental healthcare tends to cost a little less than an office visit

Does online psychiatry work?

If you tend to imagine psychiatric care as something that takes place within a doctor’s office, you may wonder whether online psychiatry services can actually help.

Plenty of evidence suggests telepsychiatry can be an effective approach to treatment — even without taking a pandemic into account.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), online psychiatric care and in-person care are equal in terms of:

  • accuracy of diagnosis
  • effectiveness of treatment
  • privacy and confidentiality
  • care quality
  • client satisfaction

The APA also describes telepsychiatry as “a validated and effective practice of medicine that increases access to care” and notes that people of all ages can benefit.

Several studies also highlight ways online psychiatry, or online mental healthcare in general, can make a difference for treatment outcomes:

  • Research from 2017 reviewed 25 articles on different types of telemental healthcare, including telepsychiatry. The study authors describe online mental healthcare as comparable to in-person treatment, and as a cost-effective, adaptable, and efficient approach for people living with mental health conditions.
  • A 2019 literature review looked at 24 articles on different telemental health interventions for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, or adjustment disorder. The authors found evidence to support the effectiveness of online or telephone-based mental healthcare.
  • Research from 2019 suggests telepsychiatry may increase satisfaction with care for veterans living with PTSD. Online psychiatric care both removes the need to travel to appointments and lessens the cost of mental health treatment.
  • Research from 2021 looked at 14 studies involving adults receiving online telepsychiatry for depression. The results suggest participants were at least as satisfied with their care as those receiving in-person treatment and saw similar levels of relief from symptoms of depression.

Can online psychiatrists prescribe controlled substances?

In general, online psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances such as benzodiazepines or stimulants. These types of medications require in-person psychiatric visits and regular monitoring.

There are a few exceptions to this rule.

For instance, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made a temporary exception to this rule due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Still, most of the online psychiatry platforms in this list state that they do not prescribe controlled substances.

The situation is different if you’ve already had in-office visits with a local psychiatrist and then move to online care.

The DEA website notes that if the prescribing practitioner has met the client in person first, then they may issue a prescription for a controlled substance via telemedicine. However, this generally isn’t the case with online platforms.

What conditions can online psychiatrists help with?

Though services may vary, online psychiatrists can generally treat a variety of mental health conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder
  • depression
  • PTSD
  • substance use disorder
  • bipolar disorder
  • eating disorders
  • grief and loss

Accessing mental health support from home can make it easier to focus your energy on coping, and many people find online psychiatry an affordable, convenient treatment approach.

Telepsychiatry may not be available in all cases, though. If you have symptoms of psychosis, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, or severe mood episodes, an online psychiatrist may direct you to seek in-person support.

Psychiatrists practicing in your area may also offer online appointments or combine in-person visits with online care. So, even if exclusively online psychiatry services won’t work for your needs, you could still have options for more accessible, convenient care.