Though most online therapy services require participants to be 18 years or older, with parental or guardian consent, online therapy for teens can be available. See our picks below.

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A quick look at the best online teen therapy services

Teenagers’ lives have always been marked by change, growth, and at least a few experiences worthy of unpacking in a therapist’s office.

However, over the past few years, teenagers have faced increasing mental health challenges. 

In recent years, data about young populations from the Programme for International Student Assessment and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note significant increases in loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Plus, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one-half of lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.

Enter online therapy. On these platforms you can find experienced therapists who use teenager therapy techniques to extend a helping hand to help teens thrive.

If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, you’re not alone

Online resources like the ones in this article generally can’t provide help in a crisis (though many services list helpful resources, such as phone numbers of national and international crisis hotlines).

If you need help right now

  • Call a crisis hotline:
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988
  • Text:
    • HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741
    • START to The Trevor Project at 678678

If you’re not in the United States, you can find a crisis helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.

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Our picks of the best online therapy options for teenagers

Best overall

LiveHealth Online

Why we chose it

LiveHealth Online offers a seamless experience for parents and teens in their search for quality therapy, thanks to its user-friendly phone app and straightforward payment structure. 

Live Health Online therapy
  • Price
    • $80 for therapist
    • $95 for psychologist
    • $175 for psychiatrist’s initial visit
    • $75 per follow-up
  • Therapy format: video

LiveHealth Online offers easy and affordable online therapy for teens. Their free app is available on both iPhone and Android devices, allowing you to schedule video visits with psychologists and therapists across the United States. 

LiveHealth Online accommodates adolescents ages 10 to 17, with parents adding their child to their account and assisting them in signing in for the visit. The level of parental involvement during the session is determined by the therapist. 

What we like

  • LiveHealth Online collaborates with insurance providers while also offering affordable self-pay options.
  • The appointment scheduling process is convenient and accessible through both computers and phones.
  • Accommodations are made for clients with vision or hearing loss.
  • The customer service team is available 24/7.

What to look out for 

  • Adult children 18 and over must create their own accounts.
  • At this time, LiveHealth Online psychiatry is only available for ages 18 and up.

Best for unlimited texting

Talkspace

Why we chose it

Talkspace for Teens provides confidential therapy for teens 13 years or older from a network of thousands of licensed therapists. It puts a lot of effort into creating a safe online space where teens can feel private and secure.

Talkspace logo
  • Price: $276–$436 a month out-of-pocket cost (or less, if insurance or EAP is used)
  • Therapy format: live online sessions or messaging via text, audio, or video, depending on the plan and therapist

Finding a nearby in-person therapist for your teen is not always easy. But Talkspace for Teens makes it incredibly easy to find a therapist online. With Talkspace, your teenager can connect with a licensed therapist online through live sessions and 24/7 messaging.

Most teens are comfortable with messaging and find it an easy way to express their thoughts and emotions in therapy. Talkspace says therapists reply to messages 5 days a week. For teens who prefer face-to-face communication, live sessions are available in some plans.

The sign-up process involves a brief assessment that results in a short list of therapists. Before the teen can begin therapy, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent in states that require it. 

After sign-up, parents need no longer be involved unless the teen wishes it. Arrangements can then be made with the therapist. The exception is that a parent or guardian will always be involved if the therapist thinks the teen is in crisis.

Mary Potter, the chief privacy officer at Talkspace, says the company is committed to confidentiality and compliance with state privacy and security regulations, including HIPAA. She emphasizes that Talkspace does not sell protected health information for any purpose, including marketing and advertising.

What we like 

  • Talkspace ensures their clients’ privacy. For instance, the platform is HIPAA-compliant and uses banking-grade encryption.
  • Teens get 24/7 access to leave messages for their therapist.
  • Many health insurance plans cover Talkspace therapy. If yours does, you may pay only a copay (typically $30). Also, free services and mental health resources are available in underserved communities through the Talkspace Access Project.
  • Talkspace teen therapy may also be covered through an employee assistance program (EAP) offered by the parent’s or caregiver’s employer. Be sure to check whether family members like your teenager are covered in your program.
  • You can try out a new therapist for your teen at any point without being charged.

What to look out for 

  • Interested users have to sign up to learn about specific pricing. 
  • Therapists often have enormous caseloads, which may affect the quality of the provided services.
  • Some clients complain that the service has an impersonal approach offering oversimplified solutions to complex problems in the form of worksheets, exercises, or questions.
  • Talkspace has been in the news regarding their privacy policies and how they had disclosed messages between the therapist and patient to mine for data. This past violation of privacy could be a deterrent from choosing this platform.

If you’d like to learn more, consider reading our in-depth Talkspace review.

Best for chat support

Teen Counseling 

Why we chose it

The online therapy platform allows teens and therapists to engage in real-time chat conversations, allowing instant feedback during difficult times.

  • Price
    • $65 to $95 a week
  • Therapy format: messaging or live sessions via chat, phone, or video

Owned by well-known online therapy site BetterHelp, Teen Counseling matches adolescents ages 13–17 with licensed counselors. 

Teenagers can seek counseling for a wide range of issues, including:

What we like 

  • Multiple communication options with licensed therapists are available, including live chat. The opportunity to have real-time text conversations can be useful in meeting teens in moments of anxiety or other current symptoms.
  • The teenage therapy service offers a convenient monthly subscription.
  • All therapists on Teen Counseling are U.S.-based, but service is available internationally.

What to look out for 

If you’d like to learn more, consider reading our in-depth Teen Counseling review.

Best for tweens

Brightline 

What we like 

There’s no waitlist when you sign up for Brightline, and their care plans can bring in parents and caregivers. 

  • Price
    • $70 a session for coaching
    • $225 a session for behavior therapy
    • $190 a session for medication support (starts with an evaluation of $270, then moves to weekly sessions)
  • Therapy format: video, messaging, chat

Co-founded by psychiatrist Dr. Giovanni Colella, Brightline serves kids and teens ages 6–17. 

This online counseling service for children and teenagers offers behavioral therapy, coaching from social workers, psychologists, and counselors, and the opportunity to seek prescription medication from licensed physicians.

Why we chose it

Brightline allows families to access care from:

  • psychiatrists
  • therapists
  • coaches
  • speech therapists

All of whom can work together.

What to look out for 

  • Brightline offers coaching in addition to therapy. It’s important to specify whether you’re open to working with someone in a coaching capacity who may be unlicensed. 
  • Brightline services — including behavior therapy, evaluation, and medication support — are now available nationwide, including in Alaska and Hawaii.

Best for psychiatric care

MDLIVE

Why we chose it

MDLIVE is one of the few online healthcare platforms offering psychiatric care for teens. Psychiatrists can treat numerous mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

  • Price
    • $284 for the initial visit for psychiatric care (medication management); $108 for follow-ups
    • $108 per session for talk therapy
  • Therapy format: phone, video

Launched in 2009, MDLIVE offers behavioral health therapy, including psychiatry. They don’t require users to make an account before viewing rates. They also have a lookup tool that allows users to check their coverage. 

MDLIVE offers quick and convenient appointment scheduling, including evenings and weekends. You can typically have your first appointment within a week or less. 

What we like 

  • This is one of the few services that has online psychiatry services for children ages 10 and older.
  • MDLIVE accepts insurance. 
  • Doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to look out for 

  • You have to prepay for appointments.
  • While MDLIVE psychiatry visits may be more affordable than visiting an out-of-network psychiatrist or paying out of pocket, the cost is still steep.

Best if you need to vent

7 Cups

Why we chose it

Whenever teenagers need a listening ear, 7 Cups’ trained listeners and community forums are available to them 24/7.

  • Price
    • free to chat with a trained listener
  • $150/month for online therapy and counseling for people 18 years and older
  • Therapy format: chat room, forum

At 7 Cups, therapy with a licensed counselor is available only for adults, but teenagers can chat for free with a trained listener any time, day or night. They can also find peer support in 7 Cups’ teen community forums. 

Though trained listeners aren’t licensed therapists, they can offer emotional support and a listening ear. Teens may find it helpful to simply have someone to talk with during difficult or stressful times.

Plus, a 2023 randomized controlled trial found that active listening may be effective for treating mild depression for up to 4 weeks after counseling.

What we like

  • Free emotional support services are available 24/7.
  • Conversations with trained listeners are anonymous and on-demand. 
  • Teenagers can choose a listener who’s had similar experiences.
  • 7 Cups offers teen community forums.

What to look out for

  • 7 Cups is not a crisis line.
  • Trained listeners are volunteers, not licensed mental health professionals.
  • Therapy with a licensed professional is only available to people 18 years and older.

Best for a free consultation

Synergy eTherapy

Why we chose it

Synergy eTherapy is a no-commitment healthcare platform that accepts insurance and allows users to test the service before getting started.

  • Price
    • free consultation
    • $100–$250 per average 45–50-minute session (depending on state and therapist)
  • Therapy format: phone, video

Before getting started with an online therapist, all potential clients of Synergy eTherapy get a free consultation. During this time, your teen can get a good idea of what online therapy will be like and ask any questions they might have.

There is no commitment and no subscription plan. You can just pay for each session as you go. If you decide it’s not for you, there are no further payments or obligations.

As of June 2024, Synergy eTherapy is offered in 44 states, excluding:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Mexico

What we like

  • All clients get a free consultation to see if it’s a good fit.
  • If you’re interested, a few states offer intern rates at $50 a session.
  • Many therapists in the network accept insurance.
  • No surprise billing.

What to look out for

  • The service is not available in all states. However, several states are part of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), which allows telepsychology practice across state borders.
  • Not all therapists take insurance (but most offer reasonable out-of-pocket rates).

How the services compare

PriceAvailable nationwide?Therapy formatMobile app?
Talkspace$276–$436 a monthyeslive sessions or messaging by:
• text
• video
• audio
yes
Teen Counseling$245 to $365 a monthyesmessaging or live sessions via:
• chat
• phone
• video
yes
Brightline$70–$225 a sessionno• videoyes
MDLIVE• $108 per therapy visit
• $284 for initial psychiatry visit; $108 for follow-ups
yes• videoyes
LiveHealth Online• $80 therapist visit
• $95 psychologist visit
• $175 initial psychiatrist visit; $75 per follow-up
yesvideoyes
7 Cupsfree chat (trained listener)yes• chat room
• forum
yes
Synergy eTherapy$100–$250 average per session (many therapists take insurance)no• phone
• video
no

Criteria we used to pick

Our selection criteria for the best online therapy for teens included: 

  • User reviews. The chosen platforms are highly rated and reviewed by clients.
  • Security level of platform. The platforms comply with security standards, allowing users a safe and secure therapy experience.
  • Credentials of clinicians and staff. Therapists working for the platforms are licensed and have several years of working experience. 
  • Cost. Pricing for the services seems reasonable and in line with or lower than comparable services.
  • Vetting. All services have been vetted to ensure that they meet Psych Central’s medical, editorial, and business standards.

What does online therapy help with? 

Many research studies have found online therapy to be an effective form of therapy.

For instance, a 2017 review of studies found that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a cost-effective way to treat mental health conditions and is effective in treating and managing conditions like: 

A 2018 research review even suggests that internet-based CBT can be as effective as in-person therapy.

What to look for in online teen therapy

When considering online therapy for teens, there are several factors that parents should look for to ensure the best possible experience and outcomes. 

Here are some key considerations:

  • licensed and qualified therapists
  • age-appropriate approach
  • secure communication, safety, and privacy measures
  • parental involvement options
  • cost and insurance coverage
  • user-friendly platform
  • flexible scheduling options

Which teens may benefit from online therapy?

While it may depend greatly on individual needs, online therapy can be particularly convenient for certain teen populations:

  • Teens who feel more comfortable discussing in-depth personal matters online rather than face-to-face may feel more comfortable with online options.
  • Teens who require more scheduling options at nontraditional times may benefit from online services like text or video messaging that don’t require client and therapist to be in the same room at the same time.
  • Teens who prefer to remain anonymous may benefit from some online platforms allowing for anonymity.
  • Teens who live in rural areas and may not have access to an in-person office may benefit from virtual sessions.

If you want to learn more about whether online therapy is right for you, consider checking out this article.

Which teens may not benefit from online therapy? 

While online therapy can be beneficial for many people, it isn’t suitable for the following teen populations:

  • teens requiring crisis intervention or a higher level of supervised care 
  • teens experiencing suicidal ideation or psychosis 
  • teens who may communicate better with in-person body language than they do via text or who may require in-person diagnosis 
  • teens who require therapy following a court order

Finding the right service for you

While we tried to compile a solid list of online therapy services for teens, we understand that the platforms we chose may not work for everyone.

If you didn’t find what you were hoping for, it might help to make a list of your own criteria when searching for a therapist. For instance:

  • Are you looking for a therapist with a certain specialization or training in a specific type of therapy?
  • Are you only interested in online options, or is in-person therapy possible? Keep in mind that many local providers offer both in-person and online options.
  • Do you have a certain budget or need a therapist your insurance covers?

If you’re looking for a therapist with a certain cultural competency, these online resources may be able to help you find the right support:

Frequently asked questions about online therapy for teens

Many online telehealth providers accept insurance, and online therapy can often even be covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

However, not all online services are covered by or accept insurance, so it’s important to check with the online therapy provider you’re interested in and your insurance to see what may and may not be covered.

Learn more about online therapy and insurance, and which ones seem like the best fit for you.

While none of the top services reviewed here provide free online therapy for teens, 7 Cups does provide free chat with online listeners. These are trained individuals who listen to teens and allow them to feel heard and understood.

Whether a minor can sign up for therapy services without parental consent can vary from state to state. While some states allow it, most states require written permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Therapists often welcome parents’ involvement, but it may depend on your teen’s specific situation, such as their treatment needs and goals.

Yes. As with in-person therapy, online therapy provides counseling from a licensed mental health professional. Most online platforms also require their therapists to have a certain number of years of work experience.

Yes, it’s not uncommon for preteens and adolescents to go to therapy. Many teens can benefit from therapy as they navigate various challenges and transitions during this stage of their lives.

There are often some signs that indicate a teen could benefit from professional therapeutic support online. Some of these include:

  • self-esteem issues
  • behavioral changes
  • school-related problems (academic or peer difficulties)
  • traumatic experiences
  • changes in sleep or appetite

Let’s recap

While some teens may prefer to build a therapeutic alliance in person with a counselor, many may prefer the accessibility and breadth of options of online therapy.

The services on this list may be a good start if you find that you or your adolescent would like to begin an online therapy journey.

Still, keep in mind that the most important thing is to find a service that’s right for your situation and that many local practices may offer both in-person and online options.