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- Best overall: Talkspace
- Best live chat: BetterHelp
- Best for psychiatric services: Brightside
- Best free service: 7 Cups
- Best for free mental health assessment: Doctor on Demand
- Best for choosing your therapist: Amwell
- Best for group therapy: Postpartum Support International
- Best for peer-to-peer support groups: TherapyTribe
Symptoms of postpartum depression can include insomnia, irritability, exhaustion, sudden mood changes, unexplained feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and intrusive thoughts. New mothers with postpartum depression may find online therapy helpful.
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 corroborate information. We explored a range of treatment options at a variety of price points to ensure that everyone can access the services they need.
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. Patients can message their 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. The ease of being able to text, or send an audio or video message to your therapist 24-7 is convenient for busy new moms or those dealing with challenging symptoms.
- Price: Talkspace offers a sliding scale of services, depending on the level support a person requires. For $260 a month, a therapist will respond 5 days a week to audio, video, or text messages. For $316 a month, users receive all of the above, along with one 30-minute live session with their therapist every month. For $396 a 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 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. You’ll also be assigned to a private chat room that only you and your therapist can access.
- Price: BetterHelp’s counseling ranges from $90 to $120 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 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, in which patients are connected with a psychiatric provider 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 offers two plans. “Evidence-Based Therapy,” which allows unlimited messaging with a therapist and one 30-minute appointment each month, costs $249 a month. “The Most Effective” costs $299 a month and includes both the therapy and the medication options. Discounts are available for the first month.
- Insurance: Brightside doesn’t accept insurance, but does accept HSA/FSA payment.
Best free service
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 plethora 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 for those signing up to the additional service, and they will reply to user messages 5 days a 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 a month, which includes unlimited messaging with a therapist.
- Insurance: 7 Cups does not accept insurance.
Best for free mental health assessment
Doctor On Demand offers users access to therapists and psychiatrists 7 days a 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, meaning 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, $299 for initial 45-minute consultation and $129 for a 15-minute follow-up with a psychiatrist.
- Insurance: May be covered by your insurance provider.
Best for choosing your therapist
Amwell connects people with therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists in their state via an app or website. Appointments are available 7 days a week, and can be scheduled at a time that suits the user. Unlike therapy subscription services, Amwell provides a more traditional therapy option, in which users can undergo a series of sessions with the same therapist, from the comfort of their own home via video chat. Users can select the medical practitioner of their choice after reading reviews.
Amwell offers resources about postpartum depression, and explains treatment options new mothers can access via the service. As users are paired with a therapist or counselor of their choice, it’s easy to find a practitioner that 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’s services, but you might need to check whether you’re covered.
Best for group therapy
Postpartum Support International offers a range of resources for new mothers who are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. You can speak to a trained volunteer via a helpline, access healthcare providers local to you via a directory, join an online support group led by facilitators, speak to mental health professionals during a weekly group call, and join the postpartum depression forum on Smart Patients.
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.
Best for peer-to-peer support groups
TherapyTribe is a wellness community supporting people with a variety of conditions. TherapyTribe offers peer-to-peer support groups on several topics, including depression, giving 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, users 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’s support groups are free to use. If users connect with a therapist using the site’s database, charges will apply but will be charged by the practitioner independently.
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.
“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, 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 (thyroid disorder, diabetes), and simply the transition to becoming a mother and the impact on family dynamics.
Online therapy is an accessible form of a therapy, which might be particularly beneficial to new mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression.
Online therapy has the potential to help many women struggling 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,” adds Magavi.
Symptoms of perinatal depression can start anytime during pregnancy or the year after. If you are worried or your loved ones express concerns about your mood, it is worth getting evaluated and you can likely benefit from treatment.
Online therapy offers many benefits, especially flexibility and accessibility, as patients can schedule sessions around their timetable and from the comfort of their own homes.
“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,” says O’Callaghan.
Indeed, benefits to 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
Whether or not insurance will cover online therapy depends on a number of factors, and 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 enquire about a particular treatment or service.
As postpartum depression affects so many women, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and 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.
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.