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While many people who give birth report experiencing the “baby blues,” postpartum depression is a more serious condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it affects as many as 1 in 8 women.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include insomnia, irritability, exhaustion, sudden mood changes, unexplained feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and intrusive thoughts. New parents with postpartum depression may find online therapy helpful.

Postpartum depression involves significant symptoms of depression after the birth of a new baby.

“The symptoms can cause new moms to experience depression and to have fears and worries about their abilities as a mother, and to feel detached from, not interested in, or fearful of their baby,” says clinical psychologist Erin O’Callaghan, director of therapy for Brightside.

People who are pregnant can also experience depressive symptoms, and that’s called prenatal depression.

Together, prenatal depression and postpartum depression are called perinatal depression.

People who have perinatal depression begin to experience symptoms either during pregnancy or within 4 weeks after delivery, though symptoms can also show up months after giving birth. Symptoms can last for several months or longer, says O’Callaghan.

A 2017 research review has shown that a variety of factors might affect who experiences postpartum depression.

“Risk factors include a history of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorder (both personal or family history), limited support in caring for your baby, financial or marital stress, medical complications during the pregnancy or during the delivery, challenges with or feelings of inadequacy related to breastfeeding,” says Gareen Hamalian, a psychiatrist with Doctor on Demand.

Other factors include:

  • recent major life changes, including losses, moves, and social isolation due to a pandemic
  • giving birth to multiple babies
  • having infants who need to remain in the hospital due to medical issues
  • complicated fertility journeys
  • untreated medical issues like thyroid disorder and diabetes

Simply the transition to becoming a mother, and the impact on family dynamics, can play a role as well.

Common symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • unexplained crying or feelings of sadness
  • feeling exhausted, yet unable to sleep
  • sleeping too much
  • overeating or lack of appetite
  • unexplained aches, pains, and illnesses
  • unexplained feelings of anger or irritability
  • sudden mood changes
  • feeling out of control
  • difficulty remembering things
  • an inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
  • no interest in things you used to enjoy
  • feeling disconnected from your baby
  • feelings of overwhelm, guilt, and hopelessness
  • withdrawing because you’re afraid to open up to anyone in case they think you’re a bad parent
  • wanting to escape from everyone and everything
  • intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby

To make our selection of the best online therapy options for postpartum depression, we consulted medical professionals for their recommendations.

We also consulted medical studies and resources to back up our information. We explored a range of treatment options at a variety of price points to ensure that everyone can access the services they need.

Best overall

Talkspace

Talkspace is an online therapy service that offers users 24/7 access to a therapist via an app. After a 60-second assessment, people are matched with a therapist who specializes in a relevant field. You can message your therapist directly on the app and will receive responses 5 days per week. Some plans even include live therapy sessions.

During signup, users explain their reasons for joining the service and will have the chance to be matched with a licensed therapist or counselor who specializes in postpartum depression. Being able to text or send an audio or video message to your therapist 24/7 is convenient for busy new parents or those dealing with challenging symptoms.

  • Price: Talkspace offers a range of prices, depending on the level of support a person requires. For $260 per month, a therapist will respond 5 days per week to audio, video, or text messages. For $316 per month, users receive all of the above, along with one 30-minute live session with their therapist every month. For $396 per month, users receive four 30-minute live sessions each month, along with the previously mentioned text, audio, and video messaging service.
  • Insurance: Services may be available via insurance plans, employee assistance programs, and behavioral health benefits. Contact your insurance provider for further details.

Best live chat

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that pairs people with licensed therapists, psychologists, and counselors who can support their particular needs. BetterHelp is easy to access via your laptop or phone, so you can tap into the help you need from home, or anywhere, for that matter.

BetterHelp offers advice and resources for individuals experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression. When signing up for the service, users are asked about their needs and their reasons for accessing therapy so they can be matched with a specialist in the relevant field. The fact that the service can be accessed from anywhere is particularly helpful for new parents who might not be able to leave the house for face-to-face therapy sessions.

You can communicate with your therapist via a variety of means. You can schedule a live session from your phone, computer, or tablet — or you can also message your therapist anytime. They’ll also assign you to a private chat room that only you and your therapist can access.

  • Price: BetterHelp counseling ranges from $60 to $90 per week, depending on location and services accessed. Users are billed every 4 weeks.
  • Insurance: Contact your insurance provider for details of coverage.

Best for psychiatric services

Brightside

Brightside is an online therapy subscription service that offers a combination of one-to-one therapy with a licensed professional, self-guided sessions to build skills and identify habits, and personalized progress tracking.

Brightside also offers a medication service, which runs alongside a plan that includes self-care tools and digital therapy. The medication service connects you with a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication if deemed appropriate.

Users are paired with therapists and psychiatrists who are licensed in their particular state. You’ll have the option to select a professional who specializes in postpartum depression.

  • Price: Brightside has three plans. The therapy plan costs $299 per month for unlimited messaging and four monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist. You can purchase additional video sessions with your counselor for $59 per session. The platform’s medication plan costs $95 a month plus your pharmacy’s copay if you have insurance prescription (Rx) benefits or $15 per medication. This plan includes a remote psychiatric evaluation, your medication delivered to your door monthly, and ongoing support. Lastly, you can combine the therapy and medication plans for $349 a month plus your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication.
  • Insurance: Brightside doesn’t accept insurance, but does accept payment from health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

Best free service

7 Cups

7 Cups is an online platform that offers 24/7 support, regardless of whether you can afford therapy. Peer-to-peer support is available to all, and volunteer listeners help moderate discussions on a range of topics and conditions.

From private chat rooms to supportive message boards, 7 Cups can be a useful tool for those seeking therapy. Licensed therapists are also available if you sign up for the additional service. They will reply to user messages 5 days per week.

As 7 Cups offers peer-to-peer support as well as therapy, people experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression can use the service in several ways. For instance, message boards allow participants to post questions, and chat rooms are a chance for users to have frank discussions with others dealing with the same issues.

  • Price: Much of 7 Cups is free to use. Those interested in using the platform’s professional counseling service can do so for $150 per month, which includes unlimited messaging with a therapist.
  • Insurance: 7 Cups does not accept insurance.

Best for free mental health assessment

Doctor on Demand

Doctor On Demand offers users access to therapists and psychiatrists 7 days per week, with the ability to prescribe medication alongside talk therapies. After an online assessment, users can browse a database of licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, and select one whose experience and specialty feels like the best fit.

Doctor on Demand offers treatment for a range of conditions, with postpartum depression specifically mentioned on the site. This means that tailored support is available. The fact that the service offers 24/7 availability is a useful selling point to those in need of weekend support.

  • Price: Rather than paying a monthly subscription fee, users pay per session. Therapy costs $129 for a 25-minute consultation or $179 for a 50-minute consultation with a psychologist. Meeting with a psychiatrist costs $299 for an initial 45-minute consultation and $129 for a 15-minute follow-up.
  • Insurance: May be covered by your insurance provider.

Best for choosing your therapist

Amwell

Amwell connects people with therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists in their state via an app or website. Appointments are available 7 days per week and can be scheduled at a time that suits the user.

Unlike therapy subscription services, Amwell provides a more traditional therapy option. With Amwell, you’ll have a series of sessions with the same therapist from the comfort of your own home via video chat. You can select the medical practitioner of your choice after reading reviews.

Amwell offers resources about postpartum depression and explains treatment options new parents can access via the service. As users are paired with a therapist or counselor of their choice, it’s easy to find a practitioner who specializes in postpartum depression and can offer tailor-made support and treatment.

  • Price: For Amwell therapy, visits cost $109 (master’s level) or $129 (doctoral level) and sessions usually last for 45 minutes. For Amwell psychiatry, a 45-minute consultation costs $279, while a 15-minute follow-up is $109.
  • Insurance: Many insurers cover Amwell services, but you might need to check whether you’re covered.

Best for group therapy

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Support International offers a range of resources for new parents who are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression.

You can speak to a trained volunteer via a helpline, access healthcare professionals local to you via a directory, join an online support group led by facilitators, speak with mental health professionals during a weekly group call.

With plenty of resources available, Postpartum Support International is an invaluable resource to anyone who isn’t sure where to find help.

  • Price: Postpartum Support International is a free resource that offers an extensive range of free support and advice options.
  • Insurance: Insurance doesn’t apply to the free resources at Postpartum Support International.

Best for peer-to-peer support groups

TherapyTribe

TherapyTribe is a wellness community supporting people with a variety of conditions. TherapyTribe offers peer-to-peer support groups on several topics, including depression. These groups give users the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions, and take part in chat rooms and forums. The website also helps connect people with online therapists worldwide, matching users to professionals in the correct field of expertise.

Using a database, you can search for therapists that specialize in postpartum depression. The site’s depression support group provides a safe space for anyone experiencing the symptoms of the condition.

  • Price: TherapyTribe support groups are free to use. If you connect with a therapist using the site’s database, charges will apply, but your therapist will charge you independently.
  • Insurance: Isurance doesn’t apply to the free TherapyTribe support groups.

Best for flexibility

Hers

Hers is a women’s health company that offers online therapy, among other services. You’ll tell the company about your therapy goals and select your personal therapist, syncing with a licensed therapist in your state.

Hers allows customers to switch providers at any time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a subscription: just pay as you go.

Therapists offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic, behavioral, or a mix of the three depending on your specific needs. You can also access psychiatric support, including medication management, and anonymous support groups, which are free sessions dealing with specific concerns. Attendees can ask a therapist questions based on the session topic.

  • Price: Hers charges $99 per session.
  • Insurance: Hers doesn’t accept insurance.

Best for immediate help

Thriveworks

Thriveworks offers exceptional online counseling via video or phone. Choose your state to view therapist bios and book online. Same-day and next-day sessions are available with over 100 counselors and coaches, and all providers are carefully selected. Once you’ve made an appointment, you can chat with your therapist about whatever is on your mind.

While Thriveworks also has over 240 brick-and-mortar locations across the United States, the company is a pioneer in the online therapy field: Thriveworks has been researching and providing online therapy services in some form since 2003.

  • Price: The out-of-pocket cost is often equal to a copay at a doctor’s office.
  • Insurance: Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether Thriveworks sessions are covered.

Online therapy is an accessible form of therapy, which might be particularly beneficial to new parents who are experiencing postpartum depression.

Online therapy has the potential to help many people with postpartum depression. “Telepsychiatry and teletherapy have helped save lives,” says Leela R. Magavi, MD, regional medical director for Community Psychiatry. “Thanks to various technological platforms, we have been able to prescribe medications and provide therapy to patients in a safe manner.”

Teletherapy allows doctors to care for individuals who live in regions with limited therapists and resources. “Many women open up more as they feel comfortable and safe in their own home,” Magavi adds.

Symptoms of perinatal depression can start anytime during pregnancy or the year after. If you are worried, or if your loved ones are expressing concerns about your mood, it’s worth getting evaluated. You can likely benefit from treatment.

Online therapy offers many benefits, especially flexibility and accessibility, as you can schedule sessions around your timetable and from the comfort of your own home.

“Online therapy can be incredibly convenient for busy parents. You can meet with your care team from the comfort of home without worrying about driving to an office or inconvenient appointment times that might interrupt your baby’s nap or feedings. [Postpartum depression] is a condition that requires a supportive, personalized, and evidence-based approach to treatment,” O’Callaghan says.

Indeed, benefits of online therapy include:

  • access to specialists, such as psychiatrists trained in reproductive health, who might not be available in your immediate area
  • no travel costs
  • convenience of being able to stay in the comfort of your own home and close to your baby
  • flexibility with scheduling

A 2016 trial found that online therapy was beneficial to patients experiencing postpartum depression. In the study, the convenience of accessing therapy at home was especially important to new parents.

Meanwhile, a 2020 review of 17 studies demonstrated that electronically delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (eCBT) was more effective than face-to-face CBT at reducing depression symptom severity.

Is online therapy covered by insurance?

Whether or not your insurance will cover online therapy depends on a number of factors. It’s best to contact your provider to find out whether a particular service is covered by your plan. Some platforms readily accept insurance, while others are transparent about requiring payment upfront.

If you’re unsure of your coverage, contact your insurance provider and ask about a particular treatment or service.

Does online therapy really work?

Studies have shown that online therapy is a highly effective option. In fact, online therapy offers several benefits that a face-to-face session doesn’t have. Communicating with a therapist via video or phone is convenient and comfortable — perks that are especially helpful for a new parent — and many people find that it’s easier to talk about difficult subjects from a distance.

How does online therapy work?

For the most part, online therapy is just like regular therapy. The big difference is that online therapy happens over a video call or a phone call instead of in the therapist’s office. Your therapist will send you a link for the video call that you can access from your computer or phone. At the time of the appointment, you’ll log on, and your therapist will handle the session from there.

As postpartum depression affects so many people, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Help is available. With access to free resources to paid therapy sessions, those dealing with the symptoms of postpartum depression can find support, advice, and treatment online — fitting around your busy schedule.


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Amy Mackelden is the weekend editor at Harper’s BAZAAR, and her bylines include Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Nicki Swift, Bustle, xoJane, and HelloGiggles. She’s written about health for MS Society, MS Trust, The Checkup, The Paper Gown, Folks, HelloFlo, Greatist, and Byrdie. She has an unhealthy love for the “Saw” movies and previously spent all her money on Kylie Cosmetics.