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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults lives with mental illness.

While mental health issues are pervasive, stigmas and barriers can often prevent people from getting the help they need. Though mental health is proven to have a direct impact on physical health, it can often be left by the wayside.

Now more than ever, the conversation around mental health is shifting, thanks to social media and access to online therapy and telemedicine.

Cerebral, sometimes referred to as Get Cerebral, was founded in 2019, is an online mental health tool providing medication management and counseling all in one.

Keep reading to learn how Cerebral can help you find the treatment you need.

Pros

  • There are multiple plans available based on customer needs.
  • Cerebral offers convenient and accessible mental healthcare.
  • They offer low cost prescriptions.
  • The company works with insurance companies to help customers get coverage and reimbursements.
  • Cerebral is available to those who are uninsured.
  • They’re FSA and HSA eligible.
Healthline

Cons

  • Cerebral isn’t available in all states.
  • The services aren’t suitable for severe psychological issues or circumstances, including substance use, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation.
  • Cerebral isn’t recommended for those who are pregnant or nursing.
  • The services are only available to clients age 18 and over.
  • They’re unable to prescribe controlled substances, like stimulants, including ADHD medications (with an exception for clients in Washington)
Healthline

Cerebral is a mental health subscription platform that provides customers with ongoing, comprehensive access to online care and medication management for anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

The company provides access to medical professionals, care counselors, and licensed therapists for a monthly flat fee.

Online services, like Cerebral, reduce barriers to mental health access and democratize mental health access. The company has a mission to improve access to high quality mental healthcare with their one-stop-shop approach.

Their telemedicine format also makes connecting with a care team simple for those with limited schedules.

Sign-up process

Signing up for Cerebral takes a matter of minutes and can be done from your phone or computer. You’ll be asked to take a brief emotional assessment to determine which plan is best for you.

After signing up, you’ll speak with a professional on a video or phone call to determine your treatment plan.

If you’re prescribed medication, it’ll be delivered monthly. Next, you’ll be matched with a care counselor or therapist, depending on your selected plan.

Membership plans

Cerebral offers three membership plans that address medication management, counseling, and online treatment.

Available as a mobile app and a web-based site, Cerebral offers ongoing support with a doctor — which they call a prescribing provider — and your care counselor or therapist.

Medication and Care Counseling plan

The plan includes:

  • evaluation, diagnosis and prescription by a prescribing provider
  • monthly medication delivery
  • monthly phone or video meetings with a care counselor who will share behavioral health techniques and coping mechanisms
  • access to a medical professional for questions and concerns
  • regular progress tracking by your prescribing provider and counselor

Cerebral’s team of care counselors are trained in therapeutic techniques, but not all counselors are licensed therapists.

Care counseling isn’t currently offered in Missouri and Oklahoma.

Medication and Therapy plan

The plan includes:

  • evaluation, diagnosis, and prescription by a prescribing provider
  • monthly medication delivery with no added shipping fee
  • weekly video or phone sessions with a licensed therapist
  • ongoing, secure messaging with your therapist at any time
  • access to a medical professional for questions and concerns
  • regular progress tracking by your prescribing provider and therapist

At this time, the Medication and Therapy plan is only available in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Cerebral is working to expand its network of licensed therapists and serve additional states.

Therapy plan

This plan includes:

  • weekly video or phone sessions with a licensed therapist
  • ongoing, secure messaging with your therapist at any time
  • regular progress tracking by your therapist

Like the previous plan, therapy is online available to clients in the 13 aforementioned states.

Making the decision to seek out a counselor or therapist is a big step to improving your health. While visiting a doctor’s office can feel intimidating, telemedicine may feel more approachable and convenient.

Cerebral is a great fit for people who feel anxious going into an office or have little time to commute to a doctor.

Your medical condition could determine whether Cerebral is the right fit for you. The company is best suited for those experiencing depression, anxiety, or insomnia.

If you’re unsure about your condition, you can take a free emotional assessment before signing up to meet with a professional.

Though Cerebral has a trained team of counselors and prescribing providers, there are several conditions and circumstances the company says they shouldn’t be used for, including:

  • substance use
  • schizophrenia
  • suicidal ideation
  • pregnancy or nursing

Keep in mind

Cerebral isn’t a substitute for emergency services.

In the event of a mental health emergency — if you’re thinking about harming yourself or someone else — call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Healthline

While Cerebral states they can treat bipolar disorder, they might not be able to manage medication for this condition.

Likewise, patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) aren’t able to receive prescribed stimulant drugs for their treatments, unless they live in Washington.

Regardless of your condition, seeking out help is an important commitment to your overall well-being.

A profusion of online services has become available over the last 25 years, allowing researchers to study the effects of internet-based counseling.

There is still limited research on the success of telemedicine and mental health apps, but findings are promising.

Research indicates that online cognitive behavior therapy yields equivalent results to face-to-face therapy. A 2019 review of outpatient telehealth determined that virtual psychiatry decreased negative symptoms and overall remission rates.

That being said, there have been few studies of psychiatric and somatic conditions so far. For the majority, internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) hasn’t been compared to face-to-face treatments.

More research with larger samples sizes is needed to determine how well they compare to one another.

Convenience is a huge draw to online therapy. If you like being in an office or seeing your therapist in person, you may miss out on some nuances and small comforts you’d find in an office setting.

Cerebral’s plans range from $85 to $325 per month. Discounted prices are available for the first month. If you’re worried about commitment, plans are billed monthly and can be canceled at any time.

The plans are priced as follows:

  • Medication and Therapy: $325 per month. The first month is $139 with code START139.
  • Medication and Care Counseling: $85 per month. The first month is $30 with code CARE30.
  • Therapy: $259 per month. The first month is $99 with code START99.

In-network insurance coverage

One benefit of Cerebral is that they work with some major health insurance companies.

Customers who use an in-network insurance carrier only pay $29 per month for the service for all plans, along with the cost of the medication and a copay per visit, which varies by insurance company.

Out-of-network assistance

If Cerebral doesn’t accept your insurance provider, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck paying full price.

Cerebral’s Automated Money Back program helps customers get reimbursements, which helps most members save between 30 to 60 percent of the subscription cost.

If you have your insurance information on file with Cerebral, the company will submit claims to your insurer for you. If you qualify for reimbursement, you can expect a check from your insurance company 3 to 6 weeks after each monthly billing payment.

If you’re uninsured, Cerebral will treat you at the full subscription cost.

FSA and HSA eligibility

Cerebral’s mental health offerings are eligible for coverage with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health spending accounts (HSAs).

If your program requires a receipt for reimbursement, the company’s customer support team can provide you with an itemized receipt.

Medication pricing

Prescription medications are billed outside of Cerebral’s subscription cost. If your insurance company is covering Cerebral, you’ll pay the copay or deductible cost designated by your insurance provider.

Medications are usually $10 for self-paying customers, but they may cost more depending on the prescription.

Privacy is a valid concern when looking for a mental health service. Sensitive information relating to your health is protected by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on Cerebral’s website and app.

Personal health information collected by Cerebral may be used to share with providers and insurers, but this data is only used to help them perform their services and respond to your providers and insurers.

Cerebral has more than 900 reviews in the Apple App Store, with an average 4.7-star rating, and nearly 400 reviews on TrustPilot with an average 4-star rating.

Most reviews are positive and applaud Cerebral’s quality counselors, ease of use, medication tracking, and helpful care team.

Many reviewers say Cerebral was “life-changing” to their mental health and they express feeling heard by their counselor.

Some reviewers say their care team makes them feel comfortable and that using the online service circumvents the anxiety they have visiting a therapy office.

While most reviews are positive, there are still some complaints raised by reviewers. Customers have raised concerns about:

  • difficult refill process and delays in prescription delivery
  • claims that providers or counselors have missed virtual appointments
  • delayed replies to questions regarding prescription concerns

There are hundreds of telehealth apps in the mental health space to consider, so it’s worth breaking down how Cerebral stacks up.

Psychiatry

One unique advantage of Cerebral is its ability to prescribe psychiatric medication.

Brightside is another top telemedicine contender in the mental health space, offering similar services to Cerebral.

Brightside allows users to partake in a medication plan with access to a medical provider ($95), medication and therapy plan ($299), and therapy plan ($95). The plans offer promotional rates for the first month, but they are more expensive than Cerebral in the long run.

Brightside’s medication plan doesn’t feature a care counselor like Cerebral. Cerebral has a wider range of medical providers in 50 states, while Brightside only has providers available in 37 states.

Brightside does, however, have more therapists throughout the country, servicing 36 states.

Talkspace, another popular mental health app, also launched a psychiatry component but at a significantly higher price of $199 for an introductory consultation and $125 for future appointments.

Therapy

Since Cerebral only provides licensed therapy to 13 states, people looking for therapy outside of those markets may want to consider an app like Talkspace or BetterHelp.

Both provide unlimited text therapy and a video chat component.

Telehealth has made mental healthcare accessible and affordable. While research for online apps and platforms is limited, online mental health services can be a cost-efficient and effective approach to treatment.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one approach to your mental healthcare that covers psychiatry and counseling, Cerebral offers help at a low cost.

Cerebral shouldn’t be used if you’re experiencing a severe mental illness or looking for substance use treatment.

Jillian Goltzman is a freelance journalist covering culture, social impact, wellness, and lifestyle. She’s been published in various outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Fodor’s Travel Guide. Outside of writing, Jillian is a public speaker who loves discussing the power of social media — something she spends too much time on. She enjoys reading, her houseplants, and cuddling with her corgi. Find her work on her website, blog, Twitter, and Instagram.