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Free online therapy services are often volunteer-based and are not for people who have severe mental health concerns. Therapy can be low cost through insurance or sliding scale options. See which one looks best for you.

Best free online therapy services

Best low cost therapy services

What to do in a mental health emergency

If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or somebody else, please find confidential support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can also call 911 or your local emergency services number or visit the nearest emergency room.

You can find information about additional mental health resources here.

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The cost of therapy can still be steep, even through online platforms, so knowing different ways you can get help—through low cost and free online therapy—can help ensure you’re getting mental health services that are equitable and readily available to those who need it.

There are various free mental health platforms online that can connect you to licensed professionals or provide peer support groups where you can get help through various platforms, from chat and text messaging to video.

You may not even realize that your current health insurance could cover online therapy. Many health insurance companies now cover online therapy sessions, which can make talking with a professional low cost and even free.

Some online platforms also offer sliding scale pricing, financial aid, or both to make therapy more accessible for all. Follow along as we break down the low cost and free online therapy services available for you.

Free online therapy services

Best low cost services

If none of the resources above look good to you, check out these low cost services that could offer what you’re looking for:

PriceAccepts insurance?Financial aid available?How to get started
Crisis Text Linefreetext or message the hotline
Therapy Aid Coalitionfree to $50 per appointmentsearch for a therapist and contact them
Blissfreesign up and begin immediately
Inclusive Therapistsvaries by therapistvaries by therapistnosearch for a therapist or fill out a questionnaire to get matched
Online-Therapy.com$40 to $110 per week, depending on your plannoyesregister and find a professional
Talkspace$25 copay or lessyesnosign up for a membership
ReGainfree 1-week trial, then from $65 to $90 per weeknoyescomplete a questionnaire and register
7 Cups• free to chat with volunteer listeners
• less than $40 per week online therapy subscription
nonosign up for a free membership
Doctor on Demand$134 to $184 per therapy appointment
yesnoregister and choose a professional

We selected each free or low cost online therapy service based on key features to ensure that the mental health support offered is secure, budget-conscious, reliable, and appropriately credentialed.

We also considered how long you need to wait for an appointment, whether the service offers 24/7 support, and whether the service offers video and phone chat, live chat, and text messaging.

Each online therapy service also went through our vigorous vetting process after we selected the services based on the features listed above.

Finding a good online therapist can typically present challenges. Finding one for free is even more difficult.

If you have insurance, a good first step is to call your benefits center or do a quick search online.

You can also check with your health insurance company to see if they can at least cover some of the cost if they can’t cover it all. If you’re a student at a college or university, check your campus services to see if they have a counseling center or check with the psychology department to see if they’re hosting any free clinics where they can put their skills to the test and help out the public.

Several national organizations, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), can help you find free or low cost online therapists or resources. These organizations usually recommend resources they have worked with before and that they know can help you with your situation.

Need more options?

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If you prefer a more personal environment or are dealing with serious issues that require exposure therapy, many in-depth discussions, or more comprehensive care (such as those relating to addiction, eating disorders, or severe depression), you may want to think about seeing a therapist in person.

But everyone is different, and this will be a matter of personal preference. If you have quicker access to an online therapist, you might want to start that way and then switch to in-person if it suits you better overall.

Managing your mental health doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.

Various online therapy platforms can help you find support groups or licensed therapists who can help you manage anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions for free or at a very low cost.

A number of online services offer free or reduced-cost therapy. Some of these free services may be run by peer counselors or coaches and require payment to work directly with licensed mental health professionals. Additionally, certain online services may be covered by some insurance plans or EAPs.

Also, a number of mental health organizations, including SAMHSA and NAMI, can provide free peer counseling over their hotlines or connect you with a free or low cost online therapist.

  • Accessibility: Anyone with an internet connection can participate in online therapy.
  • Time efficiency: Online therapy and counseling eliminates travel time to appointments or support group meetings. You can also mold it to your schedule and don’t have to call out sick from work to make it to your appointment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Online therapy can be cheaper than in-person visits, and many health insurance plans will cover part of the cost.
  • Lack of geographical barriers: If your ideal therapist lives in another state or country, you can still get treatment with them as long as they’re licensed in the state you live in.
  • Comfort: Some people might find it easier to open up to a therapist when they’re in the privacy and comfort of their home.
  • Safety: With COVID-19 an ongoing concern, telehealth eliminates the risk of potential exposure.

Anyone who is willing to listen, focus, and commit to bettering their mental health may benefit from online therapy. However, online therapy is not useful for helping to manage all conditions.

2013 reviewTrusted Source suggests that people with depressionpost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders can thrive in online therapy. Online therapy is also a great option if you are having trouble finding a therapist near you who suits your needs.

However, someone with a mental health condition that needs more direct management, such as schizophrenia or psychosis, might need immediate, face-to-face intervention.

Additionally, if you or someone you know is experiencing significant suicidal ideation, in-person therapy might be a better choice.

The main difference between free online therapy and paid therapy is the access to industry professionals and the type of care you receive in a session.

Free online therapy services are usually run by peers or volunteers who have had some training, while paid online therapists have credentials, a degree, and more. Having someone to talk to could be beneficial for some folks, but others may need more concentrated and practiced care.

If you have a limited budget for mental health care, if your insurance doesn’t cover therapy, or if you don’t have easy access to care, free online therapy platforms can be an effective option. But keep in mind that the people you talk with when using these services may not be licensed professionals.