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Like work meetings, fitness classes, and happy hours, psychiatry sessions can be held online now, too. Telemedicine is a safe and convenient way to seek mental health services in an increasingly virtual world.

If you’re considering seeing a psychiatrist but prefer to hold sessions remotely, online psychiatry may be an ideal arrangement.

Here are our top picks for online psychiatry services.

Online therapy and psychiatry fall under the umbrella of telehealth and telemedicine services.

Instead of driving to your clinician’s office and speaking with them in person, online mental health services allow you to communicate remotely.

Online therapy and online psychiatry differ in the same ways as face-to-face therapy and psychiatry. A licensed therapist can provide mental health counseling services, but they can’t prescribe medications. However, a psychiatrist can combine various forms of therapy with prescriptions.

Yes, a psychiatrist is able to prescribe medication and provide a diagnosis. They are medical doctors and can provide mental health care.

Once they’ve made a diagnosis, a psychiatrist may prescribe medication, therapy, or both.

Some online psychiatrists may not be able to prescribe certain medications depending on the service platform. These medications may include stimulants or controlled substances, like certain drugs used to treat ADHD or panic attacks.

Medications an online psychiatrist may prescribe include:

We considered many criteria when choosing the best online psychiatry services, including quality, ease of use, and user ratings.

A team of mental health experts oversees Healthline’s vetting process. This process uses specific criteria to ensure we are making the best recommendations for you. Some examples of factors considered in the vetting process include:

  • whether the product or service is supported by evidence-based research
  • whether the brand meets industry standards
  • if there is a third-party certification
  • whether the brand meets appropriate federal or industry regulations
  • if any legal or regulatory action has been taken against the brand
  • how products made by the brand are sourced
  • whether the brand takes steps to ensure social equity and promote diversity

All the services recommended in this list offer a network of board-certified psychiatrists who offer telehealth appointments, so diagnoses and prescriptions can be arranged without setting foot in a doctor’s office.

It’s also important to note that not all of these services may have you meet with a licensed psychiatrist. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also prescribe medications for mental health conditions, so you may meet with one of these professionals instead.

Best overall online psychiatry

Talkspace

  • Why we chose it: Talkspace was included on this list for its ease of use and flexibility offered by the service.
  • Price: Initial evaluations cost $199 and follow-up visits cost $125 each, but pricing can vary depending on the frequency of service.
  • Coverage: Talkspace is covered by some health insurance companies and employers. Refer to their full list of partners to see if you qualify for psychiatric care that’s covered in part or fully.

Being able to schedule and attend your psychiatric visits from your smartphone is one of the appeals of online therapy apps like Talkspace. Everything can be done at home from your fingertips — from the easy signup process to communicating via live video chat.

After filling out a brief assessment, Talkspace will match you with a licensed psychiatrist who can diagnose mental illnesses, prescribe medications, and conduct therapy sessions as needed. Talkspace psychiatrists can help with an array of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and more. You can also switch doctors at any time if you feel the match isn’t quite right.

Pros

  • user-friendly platform
  • you’ll be matched with a provider that best suits your needs
  • it’s easy to switch doctors should you need to

Cons

  • text therapy may not work for everyone
  • Talkspace can’t provide documentation for legal purposes or court-mandated treatments
  • many medications can’t be prescribed through Talkspace, like Adderall and Xanax

See a full review of Talkspace services here.

Best for medication delivery

Brightside

  • Why we chose it: We selected this service for its ease of use for depression and anxiety, two very common reasons people seek psychiatric care.
  • Price: Brightside offers three plans: Medication, Therapy, and Medication & Therapy. The plan to provide both therapy and medication costs $349 per month plus $15 per prescription. An individual plan for medication costs $95 per month plus $15 per medication. An individual plan for therapy costs $299 per month.
  • Coverage: Cigna and Evernorth are partnered with Brightside and are covered for insurance in every state where Brightside operates except Minnesota.

Well known telehealth platform BetterHelp partnered with Brightside to deliver prescription medications to patients who need them. This is great for people with anxiety and depression, though people with other mental health conditions can seek treatment with Brightside.

Members get unlimited messaging to professionals who specialize in anxiety and depression treatment. Treatment plans also include monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist and regular communication with your psychiatrist.

Pros

  • easy-to-use platform
  • easy to obtain prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications

Cons

  • the platform primarily focuses on treating depression, so you may have to seek alternative care for other conditions

Best for flexible scheduling

MDLIVE

  • Why we chose it: Despite the fact that you still might have to wait for an appointment, and there are still some restrictions on the type of care provided and prescriptions that can be written, MDLIVE offers some of the best flexibility in terms of appointments.
  • Price: Depending on your insurance, MDLIVE psychiatric care can cost up to $284 per initial visit and $108 per follow-up appointment.
  • Coverage: Some health insurance companies and employers cover MDLIVE psychiatric care. This can help cover some or all associated costs.

One of the pain points of scheduling doctor’s appointments is sticking to conventional business hours. MDLIVE’s online psychiatry services may appeal to those with tight schedules since they offer appointments during the evenings and weekends. Doctors are on call 24/7 for around-the-clock mental health care.

Online appointments can take place over the phone or via video chat. If you don’t want to wait weeks for a psychiatric appointment, you can usually schedule an appointment through MDLIVE within days. Though your psychiatrist may live in a different city than you do, they’re able to send prescriptions to your local pharmacy for pickup.

Pros

  • unconventional scheduling and extended appointment times mean that you can see a provider when it’s most convenient for you
  • MDLIVE is able to prescribe a number of different medications

Cons

  • there are certain medications that you won’t be able to obtain through this service, including ADHD stimulants
  • they don’t treat certain conditions and people, such as active psychosis, substance abuse, moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders, and children under 10
  • it may take some time to find an appointment that works for both you and your provider

See a full review of MDLIVE services here.

Best for collaborative care

Amwell

  • Why we chose it: We chose to add Amwell to this list because of their scope of care and the opportunities the platform offers for collaboration with other healthcare providers.
  • Price: An initial consultation with a psychiatrist costs $279. Follow-up appointments last about 15 minutes and cost $109 each.
  • Coverage: A select list of health insurance providers covers Amwell visits. When signing up, you can enter your health insurance information to see if you qualify for partially or fully covered visits.

Amwell isn’t just an online therapy and psychiatry service. They also cover other types of medicine, with board certified doctors available for direct-to-patient communication. If you’ve ever wished you could speak with your care team from the comfort of your own home, Amwell is one solution.

Amwell’s behavioral health services include a network of more than 100 board certified psychiatrists who specialize in medication evaluations and ongoing medication management. Amwell psychiatrists can address mental health conditions such as eating disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, cognitive disorders, depression, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While some online psychiatry services only offer mental health care, Amwell offers collaborative care so communication can occur between your psychiatrist and primary care doctor.

Pros

  • Amwell pairs psychiatry services with a number of other telehealth services to create a collaborative care platform

Cons

  • not all health insurance providers are accepted by Amwell

See a full review of Amwell’s services here.

Best for choosing your own psychiatrist

Doctor on Demand

  • Why we chose it: This services allows you to view the qualifications and specialty areas of different mental health professionals and choose the right fit for you.
  • Price: Psychiatry appointments are available for $299 for an initial 25 minute consultation and $129 for 15 minute follow up appointments.
  • Coverage: Some employers and health insurance companies cover psychiatric care through Doctor on Demand. Follow the steps during registration to see if your health plan is supported.

If you want to bypass the process of being matched with a psychiatrist and choose your own instead, consider Doctor on Demand. The service’s total virtual care includes 24/7 access to doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other medical experts. This can offer you peace of mind that care is always available and easily accessible from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Though care is virtual, it’s still personal. Visits occur over a secure video connection. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone, including your primary care physician unless explicitly requested.

Pros

  • this service offers care from mental health professionals as well as other providers
  • your care may be covered by insurance, at least in part

Cons

  • your choice of providers may be limited in certain areas
  • available prescriptions vary

See a full review of Doctor on Demand services here.

Best for à la carte appointments

LiveHealth Online

  • Why we chose it: Unlike many telehealth platforms, LiveHealth allows you to choose health services one at a time rather than requiring you to sign on to a plan or subscription.
  • Price: Before insurance, initial evaluations cost $175 and follow-up appointments are available for $75 per visit.
  • Coverage: LiveHealth Online is covered by some health covers.

People who need help with medication management may need to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist and would like an initial evaluation, LiveHealth Online is a good option, since the platform allows à la carte appointments without requiring an ongoing subscription.

If you’re worried about the quality of online mental health services, telemedicine is LiveHealth Online’s specialty. All doctors are specifically trained to perform health visits online, so patients never feel they’re missing out on the face-to-face experience that in-person appointments offer.

Pros

  • you can choose from a variety of specialties without signing on to a service or subscription plan

Cons

  • it can take up to 2 weeks to secure an online visit with a psychiatrist
  • they don’t prescribe controlled substances

Best for local care

Teladoc

  • Why we chose it: The ability to choose a local provider that you can see either online or in person earned Teladoc a spot on this list.
  • Price: Psychiatric visits cost up to $299 for the first visit and up to $119 for a follow-up visit, depending on your insurance.
  • Coverage: Teladoc accepts a range of insurance plans and depending on the type of care requested, some health insurance plans will cover the partial or full cost of Teladoc visits.

Communicating through phone, video, or text may make it seem as though your psychiatrist is on the other side of the planet. Through Teladoc appointments, your psychiatrist is closer than you think. Teladoc gives you the option of selecting a professional local to your area.

According to Teladoc, the service offers access to the top 5 percent of specialists in the world and a 90 percent satisfaction rate. Their quality care professionals can review your mental health history and treatment plan to customize care to your needs.

Teladoc psychiatrists can prescribe medications, except for controlled substances or medications for the treatment of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. This is because prescriptions for these drugs require in-person care and ongoing monitoring. However, people with these conditions can still use the service for guidance or other medications. Teladoc psychiatrists are able to offer prescriptions for antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medications, and some antipsychotics.

Pros

  • you’re able to choose a care provider from a list of mental health professionals that match your needs
  • you can select someone in your area to allow you flexibility in scheduling both online or in-person visits

Cons

  • treatment for conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders may not be offered through telehealth services because of the medications required
  • certain conditions and medications can only be treated or offered at in-person appointments

Best affordable option

Rethink My Healthcare

  • Why we chose it: While this option may not work for everyone, people without insurance or those looking for low cost care can get comprehensive services with a basic subscription.
  • Price: Rethink My Healthcare offer $24.99 for a one-time virtual consultation or they provide a $99 monthly subscription with 24/7 access to virtual primary care and $0 copay for psychiatrists.
  • Coverage: Rethink My Healthcare doesn’t accept health insurance. They offer simple, affordable payment terms so patients can seek care without relying on insurance companies.

Psychiatric visits are typically more expensive than therapy sessions since psychiatrists undergo specialized education that allows them to prescribe medications. Without health insurance, these costs can add up quickly. Rethink My Health is an affordable online 24/7 psychiatry service that makes mental health care accessible to people with varying budgets.

The service’s monthly subscription includes ongoing access to primary care physicians, therapists, and psychiatrists for collaborative care. Care is primarily provided via video as best practice for behavioral health sessions, but phone visits are also available as a secondary option.

The network of psychiatrists is able to give ongoing medication management services for eating disorders, anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and more. If you’re interested in bundling your telemedicine and telehealth needs, Rethink My Healthcare can help.

Pros

  • the subscription provides access to a variety of healthcare professionals at a relatively low cost

Cons

  • this platform is designed to bypass insurance companies, so you can’t use your existing coverage to pay for services or care

PricingInsuranceServices offeredConsiderations
Talkspace$199 initially, then $125 for each appointmentcovered by some health planstherapy and psychiatry that covers a range of conditions, like anxiety disorders, depression• easy to switch providers
• unable to prescribe some medications
MDLive$284 initially, then $108 for each appointmentcovered by some health planspsychiatry• you can meet with a psychiatrist whenever is convenient for you
• unable to prescribe some medications
Amwell$279 initially, then $109 for each appointmentcovered by some health planspsychiatry• pairs psychiatry with other services
• not all insurance plans cover Amwell
Doctor on Demand$299 initially, then $129 for each appointmentcovered by some health plans, but you have to create an account to know if your network is acceptedtherapy and psychiatry that covers conditions like PTSD, eating disorders, OCD, depression• offers both mental health professionals and other professionals
• choice of professional is limited in particular areas
LiveHealth Online$175 initially, then $75 for each appointmentpsychiatrypsychiatry• choose from a variety of specialties without subscribing
• can take up to 2 weeks to secure an appointment
• does not prescribe controlled substances
Teladoc$299 initially, then $119 for each appointmentpsychiatrypsychiatry• able to choose a professional in your area
• treatments of some conditions are not offered
Rethink My Healthcare$99 per monthpsychiatrypsychiatry• low subscription cost
• does not accept insurance
Brightside$349 per month24/7 appointments for psychiatry/medication management and therapy24/7 appointments for psychiatry/medication management and therapy• easy platform to maintain care and manage anxiety or depression
• focused only on treating depression

Many people put off meeting with a psychiatrist out of fear or nervousness. If you’re unsure whether you should sign up for online psychiatry, consider your health history and any sudden changes in the way you feel physically and mentally.

“Individuals that are experiencing changes in their mood, sleep, and appetite, or have thoughts of harming themselves or other people, should consider seeing a psychiatrist,” explains Tamir S. Aldad, MD, psychiatrist and CEO of Mindful Urgent Care.

Keep in mind

Online psychiatry is not 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.

“If the patient feels that their symptoms are mild, starting with a therapist might be appropriate. Combining talk therapy with treatment involving medication has been shown to have better outcomes for some patients,” Aldad says.

Common reasons to see a psychiatrist include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • addiction
  • thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • trouble sleeping
  • obsessive thinking

Scheduling an online psychiatry appointment can also be a good fit if you need a psychiatric diagnosis, prescription medication, or second opinion.

When considering the help of a psychiatrist, you may first want to consider why you are seeking help. Psychiatrists may provide general care, but some specialize in certain areas of therapy, like:

Your primary care doctor may offer you suggestions for selecting a psychiatrist, or even refer you to a local provider. If you are looking for online services or a telehealth provider, the list above can be a good starting point.

Some factors to take into account when picking the best online psychiatrist for you include:

  • Insurance coverage. Is it important to you for your online psychiatrist or platform to accept your insurance network?
  • Cost. You’ll want to keep your budget in mind when picking an online psychiatrist, especially if you intend to meet with them regularly.
  • Conditions covered. Some mental health conditions may be better treated with in-person care. These conditions may include substance use disorders, eating disorders, or more-severe depression conditions.
  • Commitment level. Certain online psychiatry platforms may require or offer a subscription. You may want to decide what type of commitment level you’re looking for before signing up for anything. For example, are you already taking medications and looking to manage them? Or are you interested in learning about your options?
  • Types of professionals. If you don’t already have a therapist but you want to find one, this may be an important factor to consider. It may be easier for you to have all your mental health care professionals on one platform.

Choosing a counselor, therapist, or psychologist is a very personal decision. Everyone has different needs when it comes to psychological help. Below are some things to consider when making your choice.

How much does online psychiatry cost?

Depending on your insurance coverage, talking with an online psychiatrist can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 for an initial consult. Sometimes it may be as high as $500.

Follow-up appointments typically average $100 per session.

How does online psychiatry work?

Online psychiatry works a lot like online therapy. In addition to talk therapy through mediums like video calls, phone calls, and text, online psychiatrists can help with medication management.

To get started, you’ll need to sign up for an online psychiatry service. This may require entering your health insurance information (if you have it) and choosing a psychiatrist.

Once you’re all signed up, you can set up appointments to speak with a psychiatrist from the comfort of your own home.

You’ll just need a secure internet connection and a computer, smartphone, or tablet to attend the appointments virtually.

Is online psychiatry effective?

Existing research suggests that online psychiatry can be an effective, affordable, and accessible alternative to face-to-face sessions.

In a 2015 study, some researchers even suggest that younger patients actually prefer telepsychiatry to traditional in-person psychiatry visits. The evidence from these studies says that telepsychiatry is especially effective for the treatment of PTSD, depression, and ADHD.

According to a 2015 review, the growing body of evidence suggests online psychiatry services are effective, feasible, and comparable to conventional care in terms of patient and clinic satisfaction.

Can online psychiatrists prescribe controlled substances?

Traditionally, there have been limits to the types of medication online medical professionals — including psychiatrists — could prescribe.

Some types of medications, like controlled substances, could require an in-person visit, but the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Drug Enforcement Administration to loosen some of these rules.

Now, online providers can prescribe controlled substances without an in-person visit.

Are online psychiatrists legit?

This is an important and valid question to ask when considering an online psychiatry service — or any psychiatry service, for that matter.

Check the credentials of any healthcare professional, making sure they received the appropriate training, degree, and licensure to provide the care you are seeking.

There are also a number of organizations that certify or accredit professionals in different specialties. In psychiatry, one example of this is the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. These organizations administer tests or require certification that a provider performs a certain level of care.

Checking the credentials and training of providers is a part of Healthline’s vetting process, and was considered in the creation of this list.

What is the difference between teletherapy and telepsychiatry?

Whether they are offered online or in person, therapy and psychiatry services differ in two key ways.

Therapy usually refers to psychological services like counseling. These services are provided by a trained therapist, counselor, or psychologist. These professionals are trained to perform certain types of therapies but cannot prescribe medications.

Psychiatrists, whether online or in person, are specially trained to make a medical diagnosis and prescribe medications to treat various mental health conditions.

When should I talk with a psychiatrist?

There are several instances when meeting with a psychiatrist might alleviate some negative or overwhelming feelings.

These could be times when someone is experiencing:

  • loss and grief
  • stress and anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias
  • family and relationship issues
  • substance use disorder

In other instances, someone might want to talk with a psychiatrist to improve their state of mind. This could mean meeting with a psychiatrist to manage:

  • a mental health condition
  • performance enhancement
  • mental clarity

Ultimately, there are many reasons why someone might want to start meeting with a psychiatrist. It’s important to listen to yourself and understand that some events may require the guidance of a professional to work through feelings or events in a healthy way.

What’s the difference between therapy and psychiatry?

There are some key differences between therapy and psychiatry.

Therapy appointments will be with a mental health professional, like a social worker, counselor, or psychologist. You’ll most likely engage in talk therapy for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

In therapy, you can be diagnosed with a mental health condition and talk through different feelings or treatment options.

But psychiatry is focused more on medication management. Psychiatry appointments also tend to be shorter. A psychiatrist can make medication recommendations and check on how your medications are working.

Can I see a psychiatrist without a referral?

Yes, you can see a psychiatrist with or without a referral. If you don’t have a referral, you can find a psychiatrist through your insurance network. Or, you can try to find someone who specializes in your mental health condition(s) or symptoms.

Can you be diagnosed by a psychiatrist online?

Yes. If you’re seeing a psychiatrist virtually, they’re still able to diagnose you with a mental health condition.

Psychiatrists can make medication recommendations and provide prescriptions for certain medications online. But some telehealth networks won’t prescribe medications like stimulants or controlled substances.

While online psychiatry isn’t the best fit for everyone, it is a convenient and accessible option for many to seek treatment on their own time and in their own home.

If you’re looking for mental health services that offer a little more than talk therapy, psychiatry can also provide medication management in a remote and discreet way.


Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.