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Brightside Health is a relatively new online therapy platform that offers therapy and psychiatry. Read our in-depth review of the service to see if it’s a good fit for you.

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The COVID-19 pandemic tripled depression among adults in the United States, according to a 2022 study. In early 2020, 27.8% of U.S. adults experienced depression, a number that climbed to just over 32% in 2021.

Statistics like that make platforms like Brightside Health all the more appealing. Brightside is an online therapy service treating different kinds of anxiety and depression.

In our review, we’re covering everything you need to know about Brightside, including their products and services, pros and cons, how they stack up to the competition, and what real users think.


  • designed for simplicity, convenience, and results
  • providers include certified therapists and psychiatrists
  • medication available as deemed appropriate
  • mix of therapy, self-care tools, and medication
  • insurance accepted
  • reasonably priced


  • may lack the more personal touch of in-person care
  • not suitable for everyone
  • Crisis Care is only available to people who have insurance
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Brightside Health is an online therapy platform designed to help people ages 18 and older in the United States who are experiencing issues related to anxiety and depression. Brightside Health offers remote care only, and their therapy and medication plans are currently available in all 50 states.

The program uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A small 2014 study shows that the online application of CBT can effectively treat symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to Brightside, 86% of their members feel better within 12 weeks. Brightside attributes these outcomes to their comprehensive, multi-approach to care.

Brightside Health might be a good option if you need the flexibility of online therapy and are looking to address various symptoms of depression or anxiety. People in need of short-term therapy who hope to develop skills to navigate challenging issues or emotions in their lives may find exactly what they need from Brightside.

Brightside states providers can offer treatments for a range of mental health conditions, including bipolar 2, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

However, because it’s an online therapy service specifically for issues relating to depression and anxiety, Brightside isn’t for everyone. The platform outlines a list of conditions and situations for which it isn’t well suited, which include recent involuntary hospitalization for psychiatric reasons and eating disorders with high risk symptoms.

Brightside cautions that this isn’t a complete list, and they do not treat or prescribe for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you’re navigating these issues, Brightside recommends finding in-person care.

Brightside offers four treatment approaches for depression: therapy, psychiatry, therapy and psychiatry, and their new service — Crisis Care.


Brightside’s evidence-based therapy includes four video sessions per month, unlimited messaging, and interactive lessons from the self-care program.

A Brightside subscription includes one 45-minute video appointment each week with a licensed therapist, plus unlimited messaging. The length of these sessions is shorter than a typical therapy session, which can range from 50–60 minutes.

Members can also purchase additional video sessions for $59 each.


If you’ve opted for Brightside’s psychiatry plan, a psychiatric professional will conduct a comprehensive video consultation to help determine whether medication may be warranted. These conversations typically last about 15 minutes — time enough to review your situation, discuss your care plan, and answer any questions.

If a provider believes your situation warrants medication, it will be prescribed and delivered to your door.

Your provider will authorize monthly refills. You’ll need to check in with your provider about your symptoms and side effects weekly so that they can monitor your progress and adjust your care plan as necessary. Brightside psychiatrists prescribe medication on a case-by-case basis and only for medications that are non-addictive.

The most common medications prescribed through Brightside include antidepressants like selective reuptake inhibitors (SRRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Antipsychotic and anti-seizure medications are also available to treat bipolar disorder symptoms.

Brightside does not prescribe stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, nor does it prescribe Xanax, Ativan, or Klonopin.

Members receiving medications through Brightside also have access to the self-care program.

Therapy and psychiatry

The medication and therapy plan combines all of the features of both care plans. In addition to medication, members also receive unlimited messaging, a weekly video session with a licensed therapist, and access to the self-care program.

Crisis Care

This national telehealth program was designed specifically for people with elevated suicide risk. The platform offers timely access to specialized care by filling the gap between routine services and emergency room visits.

It’s based on the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) framework and intended to help patients who are actively suicidal, those who have had a recent suicide attempt, and those who need follow-up care following hospitalization.

Hannah Changi, the Senior Communications Manager with Brightside Health, explained the CAMS framework and intake process for Crisis Care patients.

“The CAMS-trained clinician will conduct a 60-minute intake to understand the patient’s level of suicidal ideation, history of suicidality, risk, and protective factors. If the clinician determines the patient is appropriate for Crisis Care, intervention will begin immediately.”

This intake determines if the patient is appropriate for the care Crisis Care provides. “If a patient is not appropriate for Crisis Care, they will be referred to an in-network provider within the member’s health plan,” Changi says.

Brightside Health says Crisis Care is not for people who are at imminent risk of self-harm and in need of emergency services.

Through Crisis Care, appointments with CAMS-trained clinicians are available within 48 hours. Patients begin a structured program that lasts between 4 and 12 weeks and includes video sessions and messaging. If medication is clinically appropriate, it may also be prescribed.

At this time, Crisis Care is only available in the following states*: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Main, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. A national rollout is currently being planned.

Unlike other Brightside plans that can paid monthly without insurance, Crisis Care can only be paid for through insurance. That means your coverage and costs will vary.

*Our writer, Jessica Timmons, emailed the Brightside Support Team to request the specific states Crisis Care is currently available in. This information is accurate as of November 2023.

Other care options

Along with video therapy sessions, Brightside therapists also guide members in completing personalized, self-paced audio lessons and exercises. The lessons and exercises can guide you to skills and habits designed to help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. You can share feedback about what’s helpful.

Getting started on Brightside Health begins with a free assessment. First, you’ll complete a brief questionnaire with clinical questions relating to how you’re feeling and what you’re hoping to achieve, including whether you’re open to therapy, medication, or both. You’ll see your results and receive a personalized treatment recommendation.

Then, you can choose a plan and schedule your first session to meet your mental health care professional. Appointments are available within 48 hours of your free assessment.

Full prices are shown in the table below. The first month is typically offered at a discounted rate.

TherapyMedication Therapy and medicationCrisis Care
First month$249$95$349varies depending on insurance
Ongoing monthly cost$299 $349 plus pharmacy copay if you have insurance or $15 per medication$349 plus pharmacy copay if you have insurance or $15 per medicationvaries depending on insurance

Additional video therapy sessions cost $59 each.

Brightside does accept insurance. If you’re considering Crisis Care, insurance is a requirement. In both cases, you’ll need to confirm coverage and eligibility in your area.

If your plan covers Brightside care, you’ll be responsible for copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and prescription costs associated with your plan. It’s a good idea to contact your health insurance company to verify that your care will be covered.

Brightside also accepts payments from health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

Brightside follows industry best practices to keep all information confidential. The platform uses encryption to secure all data and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Your prescribing provider is the only one who has access to your information.

Brightside Health has a generally positive reputation. While you can find negative comments about their service, that’s true of many businesses.

Brightside appears to be largely transparent about its services, who will benefit most from the platform, those who aren’t a good fit, what it costs, and what to generally expect before getting started.

There are over 1,800 reviews on the Brightside website, with a 4.5-star rating. Customers mention ease of use, excellent providers, accessibility, convenience, and rapid response time. Many share that they’re feeling a big improvement.

Negative feedback is minimal, but some people describe Brightside as expensive and impersonal.

Brightside is recently accredited with the Better Business Bureau, and they currently have an A- rating, however they currently have zero reviews on their BBB page. They do have listed, though, that there were 58 customer complaints in the past 3 years, and in the past 12 months, 36 complains had been closed. Most of the complaints are related to the service and billing.

Brightside HealthBetterHelpCerebralOnline-Therapy.comSondermind
Services offeredonline therapy and medicationonline therapyonline therapy and medicationonline therapyin-person and online therapy
Pricing$95–$349 per month depending on plan$65–$95 per week, billed every 4 weeks$85–$325 per month depending on plan$39.95–$79.95 per week depending on planvaries depending on service, but sessions average $85 per hour
Privacy policyHIPAA compliant, encrypted servers256-bit encrypted servers; HITRUST certifiedHIPAA compliantHIPAA-compliant, encrypted serversHIPAA-compliant, encrypted servers
Insurance acceptedyes; is required for those seeking Crisis Carenoyesno, but itemized receipts are available to request reimbursementyes

Yes. Brightside Health has psychiatric professionals who can prescribe medication for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Prescriptions are available following a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.

The platform does not prescribe addictive substances, such as Xanax and Ativan, or stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.

Yes. Brightside has psychiatric professionals who can diagnose depression, which is necessary for a prescription.

Yes. Brightside Health does accept some insurance. If you have insurance, you’ll need to confirm coverage and eligibility in your area. When you’re going through the free online assessment, at the end there’s a way to check for your insurance before purchase.

Learn more here about their insurance partners.

Brightside is comparable to other online platforms for therapy and psychiatry. Depending on your insurance plan, it may be less expensive.

Yes. The Brightside Health app is designed to help patients stay in touch with their care team, track progress, complete self-guided therapy lessons, and view and schedule appointments. It’s available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

No. Brightside psychiatrists don’t prescribe Xanax because it’s considered addictive.

Brightside Health does not conduct assessments for ADHD. If you already have a diagnosis, the platform can treat ADHD symptoms with CBT. Psychiatrists on the platform can also prescribe nonstimulant medications. However, they don’t prescribe controlled substances like Ritalin or Adderall.

Brightside Health offers all of the advantages of online therapy with the added bonus of online psychiatry, which makes all kinds of antidepressant medications available for those who need them. Many people find treatment from Brightside to be effective for different issues relating to depression and anxiety.

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.