6 Best Online Psychiatrist Platforms of 2022

We’ve researched a variety of mental health platforms to see which ones stand out from the rest. Here’s everything you need to know about getting psychiatric care and mental health medication online.
This content is researched and written independently of the views or opinions of Everyday Health's editorial team. Everyday Health may earn a commission from purchases of featured products in this article.

Online psychiatrist platforms offer a convenient way to access board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs) who can evaluate and treat mental illnesses from the comfort of your home, office, or other private space. Here, we’ve researched the most popular online psychiatrist platforms, compared features, looked at pricing and session types, and listed the pros and cons, so you can decide which platform is right for you.

Before diving into our picks for the best online psychiatrists of 2022, it’s important to note that psychiatrists are sometimes confused with psychologists. Although they can both treat mental health conditions, the American Psychological Association (APA) defines a psychiatrist as someone who earns a medical degree followed by a postgraduate residency with a focus on the biological aspects of mental illness. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, while psychologists cannot, although there are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medication if they receive additional training, according to the APA.

Our Top Picks for Best Online Psychiatry Services

  • Best Psychiatry Platform for Medication Plus Therapy: Brightside
  • Best Psychiatry Platform for Using Insurance: Zocdoc
  • Best Psychiatry Platform Without Insurance: Sesame
  • Best Psychiatry Platform for Kids 10 and Older: MDLive
  • Best Budget-Friendly Psychiatry Platform: LiveHealth Online
  • Best Psychiatry Platform App: Doctor on Demand

Why Trust Our Online Psychiatrist Review

We independently investigate and recommend products and services we believe will enrich the lives of our readers and meet their specific needs. We’ve spent many hours carrying out in-depth research on the online therapy market. You can trust our review because we did the legwork for you in these specific ways:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Mystery shopped each of the brands
  • Contacted the brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and gauge responsiveness
  • Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
  • Reviewed academic research into the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and TrustPilot

Compare the Best Online Telepsychiatry Platforms in 2022



Appointment Types


Accepts Insurance



$95 per month for medication management; $349 per month for therapy plus medication; $15 or pharmacy copay per prescription

Video; unlimited messaging for medication plus therapy plan

Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs


Depends on the provider


Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants


Depends on the provider


Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants


$284 for the initial visit; $108 per follow-up visit

Video; telephone

Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrists

LiveHealth Online

$175 for the initial evaluation; $75 per follow-up visit


Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrist

Doctor on Demand

$229 for the initial consultation; $129 per follow-up visit


Depends on the provider, but most are available days, nights, and weekends


Board-certified psychiatrist

Best Psychiatry Platform for Therapy Plus Medication: Brightside

Cost?$95 per month for medication management; $349 per month for therapy plus medication; $15 or pharmacy copay per prescription

Accepts insurance?Yes

Session types?Live video; unlimited messaging for medication plus therapy plan

Qualifications?Board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs


  • Optional medication plus therapy plan for comprehensive treatment
  • Proprietary technology helps providers personalize prescriptions


  • Can be costly if you want medication plus therapy
  • Doesn’t offer an app

Brightside offers personalized treatment for anxiety and depression with psychotherapy and medication. Evidence suggests that combining psychotherapy and medication for depression may be more effective than either treatment alone, according to the?APA.

The platform’s proprietary technology, PrecisionRx, analyzes patients’ medical history and symptoms to help providers recommend medication. Brightside coordinated an?external analysis published in January 2022 in the journal Cureus, which indicated that its response rate at first medication recommendation was 50 percent higher than a leading U.S. health system’s.

Brightside has providers who treat a range of conditions related to anxiety and depression, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, insomnia, bipolar II, and postpartum depression.

Brightside offers three treatment plans: therapy, medication, or medication plus therapy. If you want to work with a psychiatrist, you’ll need to sign up for the medication-only plan or medication plus therapy plan.

If you opt for the medication-only plan, you will be matched with a psychiatric provider licensed in your state. The provider could be a psychiatrist or a psychiatric NP who can prescribe medication, assess and diagnose mental illnesses, and manage treatment plans. Psychiatric NPs have either a master’s or doctorate degree and experience working as a licensed nurse, according to Nurse.org. If you are matched with a psychiatric NP but want to see a psychiatrist who specializes in a specific concentration, you can contact the Brightside support team and request a change.

If you opt for Brightside’s medication plus therapy plan, you’ll get the benefits of the medication-only plan as well as unlimited messaging and a weekly video session with a licensed therapist. The main benefit of going with this plan is that you get access to in-depth psychotherapy and appointments with a psychiatric provider for medication.

Brightside accepts insurance, including Aetna and Cigna. You need to create an account and enter your insurance information to verify coverage. Without insurance, plan costs are broken down as follows:

  • Medication Plan $95 per month ($45 for the initial month), plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you have insurance prescription benefits; medication is mailed to your home
  • Therapy Plan $299 per month ($249 for the first month); includes unlimited messaging and four monthly video sessions with a licensed therapist
  • Medication Plus Therapy $349 per month, which is $45 less than purchasing each plan alone ($249 for the initial month), plus $15 per medication or your pharmacy copay if you have insurance prescription benefits

Unlike other online psychiatrist platforms on our list, Brightside does not offer an app. You can access the platform by using a browser on your mobile devices. Video calls take place via Zoom.

Brightside’s providers cannot prescribe medications that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as controlled substances.?These include amphetamine (Adderall), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin), among others. Brightside’s providers can prescribe medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors at their discretion.

Best Psychiatry Platform for Using Insurance: Zocdoc

Cost Varies by provider

Accepts insurance Yes

Session types Live video

Qualifications Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants


  • Supports more than 700 individual insurance plans
  • Can scan your insurance card to find your exact insurance plan
  • Can help find in-network providers with your insurance to save you the most money
  • Can find next-day appointments


  • Not guaranteed an in-network provider match
  • Some reviews mention double-booked appointment times or later appointment times than the website

For online psychiatry that takes insurance, Zocdoc could be a good option. You can narrow your search by more than 700 individual insurance plans, including popular providers like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare. This can make it easier for you to find a low cost online psychiatrist. Zocdoc will show you the top-rated psychiatrist options available near you, prioritizing in-network providers with early availability that work with your insurance. According to the Maryland Insurance Network (PDF), in-network providers have agreements with your insurance company to provide care at a certain rate, which will save you the most money. The exact cost of your video visit will depend on your insurance, deductible, and copay.

Zocdoc will also show you out-of-network options. You will need to check your individual insurance plan to see if it will reimburse part of your visit.

During your search, you can also customize the results by psychiatric options. For example, if you just need a refill of your medication, and don’t need a diagnosis or to try a new medication, you could also see a primary care provider to take care of your medication management. You can schedule your appointments on Zocdoc, and you will either have your appointment through Zocdoc website or the third-party video service your doctor’s office uses for telepsychiatry.

Best Psychiatry Platform Without Insurance: Sesame

Cost Varies by provider

Accepts insurance No

Session types Live video

Qualifications Board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants


  • Mental health consultations available starting at $42
  • Prescription refill appointments available starting $39
  • Some medications available for $5


  • Appointment prices vary by location and provider
  • Not available in all states

Sesame offers online psychiatry services for those without insurance, including mental health consultations, telehealth psychiatry appointments, and prescription refills. Our reviews team was able to find a virtual prescription refill, or telefill, appointment with a popular and highly rated family nurse practitioner for $39.

Once you start your search, Sesame will display the top online psychiatrist options in your area, prioritized by same-day appointments, those who offer $5 medications, and popular providers with positive reviews.

Our reviews team found many providers offering convenient appointments on weekends and after business hours. You can also cancel up to three hours before your appointment. If you’re interested in $5 prescription medications from Sesame, look for a label that says “$5 meds” on your provider’s profile.

If prescribed medication, Sesame will deliver your medication for free to your door. The list of $5 psychiatric medications it offers include:

  • amitriptyline (Endep)
  • bupropion SR (Wellbutrin SR)
  • bupropion XL (Wellbutrin XL)
  • buspirone (Buspar)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • duloxetine DR (Cymbalta)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • hydroxyzine hydrochloride (Atarax)
  • mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR)

Best Psychiatry Platform for Kids 10 and Older: MD Live

Cost?$284 for the initial visit; $108 per follow-up visit

Accepts insurance?Yes

Session types?Live video; telephone

Qualifications?Board-certified psychiatrists


  • Available for ages 10 and up
  • Pay-as-you-go plan — no contract or monthly plan required


  • No home delivery for prescriptions
  • No on-demand appointments available

MDLive is a comprehensive telehealth platform that provides services for both medical care and mental health care, including therapy and psychiatry. MDLive psychiatrists can treat kids?ages 10 and over, with parental consent. This service may help parents provide their children with the help they need, considering that more than half of U.S. children with a treatable mental health disorder don’t receive treatment from a mental health professional, according to a study published in December 2019. A shortage in child psychiatrists was cited as a driving factor, with 70 percent of U.S. counties lacking one.

To see an MDLive psychiatrist, create an account and answer a few questions about where you live and any health concerns you’re experiencing. You can then browse the directory of psychiatrists and request an appointment that works with your schedule. Many MDLive psychiatrists offer evening and weekend appointments, which may be convenient for parents trying to schedule appointments for kids outside of school hours. Our reviews team’s April 2022 survey of 1,000 online therapy users revealed that evening and weekend availability was the most important factor for 35 percent of respondents when choosing an online therapy platform.

MDLive does not offer on-demand mental health appointments. When the reviews team tried the platform, the first available appointment was seven days out. Your wait time will vary depending on your chosen provider’s schedule and the number of providers licensed in your state.

Members talk directly with a psychiatrist via live video or phone. Parents of kids under age 18 need to be present at the start of each session to consent to the visit, but the provider will then determine whether the parent should stay for the rest of the session. If a psychiatrist believes that medications are warranted, they will write a prescription and send it to your chosen pharmacy for you to pick up. The cost depends on how much your pharmacy charges and whether you have an insurance copay. MDLive psychiatrists cannot prescribe DEA-controlled substances and other medications, including those that have a potential for abuse.

MDLive is in network for multiple health insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and others. You can register for an account for free to see whether it accepts your insurance. Without insurance, the initial consultation costs $284, and follow-up visits cost $108, which your psychiatrist might schedule for medication management.

Best Budget-Friendly Psychiatry Platform: LiveHealth Online

Cost?$175 for the initial evaluation; $75 per follow-up visit

Accepts insurance?Yes

Session types?Live video

Qualifications?Board-certified psychiatrist


  • Lower fees than other online psychiatrists
  • Ability to search for psychiatrists who are available nights and weekends


  • No home delivery for prescriptions
  • No subscription plans

LiveHealth Online’s psychiatry services are one of the most budget-friendly of the platforms we considered for best online psychiatrist. The cost is $175 for the initial evaluation and $75 per follow-up visit. And if you have insurance, these rates can be lower. LiveHealth Online accepts most Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. The cost for prescriptions depends on how much your pharmacy charges and whether you have an insurance copay. LiveHealth Online psychiatrists cannot prescribe DEA-controlled substances.

With LiveHealth Online, you can sign up in minutes, browse the directory of profiles and qualifications, and select the provider who specializes in a clinical interest that meets your needs: for example, anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, or PTSD. When you’re ready to move forward, you can schedule an appointment from a computer, using a mobile device, or by calling the toll-free number. We registered for an account within minutes on a Friday, indicated that we were looking for psychiatry services, and were presented with a psychiatrist who was available on Sunday, with three separate time slots to choose from.

If you need more in-depth talk therapy than an online psychiatrist can provide, LiveHealth also offers a pay-per-visit online psychology platform for seeing a therapist or psychologist. These sessions cost $80 to $95, depending on the provider.

Best Psychiatry Platform App: Doctor on Demand

Cost?$229 for the initial consultation; $129 per follow-up visit

Accepts insurance?Yes

Session types?Live video

Qualifications?Board-certified psychiatrist


  • Highly rated by Apple and Google app store reviewers
  • May be able to see a psychiatrist on nights and weekends


  • One of the more costly online psychiatrist providers
  • No subscription plans

According to our survey, the most important factor when choosing a platform was positive reviews online. Doctor on Demand has a user-friendly app that received the highest Google and Apple app store reviews among the best online psychiatrist platforms we picked, with 4.9 out of 5 stars from the Apple app store and 4.8 out of 5 stars from Google Play. You can also use a browser on your laptop or tablet to access its services. On the BBB and TrustPilot, reviews of the platform aren’t as favorable, with ratings of 1.22 and 1.5 respectively.

Doctor on Demand’s app is easy to use. After downloading it, you only need to enter your name, phone number, gender, and date of birth to start. It then uses your location to find board-certified psychiatrists licensed in your state. You can then filter your results based on factors such as appointment availability, language spoken, and focus area (e.g., grief or postpartum depression).

The app also makes it easy to verify insurance benefits. Once you enter your member ID and group ID in the app, Doctor on Demand will verify your coverage and confirm how much your session will cost. If your employer covers this service, you can input that information during sign-up, too. Without insurance, the platform charges $299 for the initial visit, which averages 45 minutes, and $129 for 15-minute follow-up visits.

You can easily manage your prescription via the app if your psychiatrist prescribes medication. It took us less than a minute to find and save our local pharmacy’s information. The cost for prescriptions depends on how much your pharmacy charges and whether you have an insurance copay. Doctor on Demand’s psychiatrists cannot prescribe DEA-controlled substances.

What’s the Difference: Psychiatrist vs. Therapist vs. Psychologist


Psychiatrists are often confused with psychologists and therapists. Although they all treat mental health conditions, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor or physician with several years of training as a psychiatric resident who can diagnose and treat complex psychiatric conditions with medication, according to the APA Psychiatrists often do initial evaluations, diagnose conditions, and prescribe medications for mental health conditions, with follow-up appointments focusing on medication management.


A therapist is an individual who has been trained in and practices one or more types of therapy to treat mental or physical disorders or diseases. In the context of mental health, the term is often used synonymously with psychotherapist, according to the APA. This can include psychologists and social workers who use therapeutic techniques like psychotherapy or talk therapy to help people understand and resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, and relationship issues.


A psychologist may have a PsyD (doctor of psychology) or a PhD (doctor of philosophy), but they are not a medical doctor and, therefore, cannot prescribe medication — unless they are licensed in Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, or New Mexico and have received additional training on how to prescribe medication, according to the APA. They can diagnose and treat mental health conditions, learning disabilities, and behavior disorders.

What Conditions Can an Online Psychiatrist Treat?

An online psychiatrist can diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, just like they can in person — from assessment and diagnosis to follow-up care, according to an?article published in the World Journal of Psychiatry. This includes depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

There are times when online psychiatry services may not be the best option. “Online psychiatry is great for managing chronic mental health conditions that are stable. However, a person should not rely on online psychiatry during an emergency or if they are experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or others,” says Michael J. McGrath, MD, medical director at the Ohana Retreat addiction treatment center in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Dr. McGrath advises calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room in these situations, rather than using online psychiatry. Other resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

How Much Does an Online Psychiatrist Cost?

Online psychiatry services range in price from $75 to $300 per session. In general, the initial evaluation is more expensive and is a more comprehensive session than follow-ups. For example, MDLive changes $284 for the initial visit and $108 per follow-up visit. If your health insurance covers online psychiatry, this amount can sometimes go as low as $0.

Is Online Psychiatry Covered by Insurance?

Several telepsychiatry platforms accept health insurance and publish a list of the carriers they work with on their website. But not all health insurance benefits will cover online sessions. If you plan on using insurance, check with your carrier before choosing a platform.

What Are the Benefits of Online Psychiatry Sessions vs. In Person?

One of the main benefits of online psychiatry is that it makes care accessible to people who live in areas that have a limited number of psychiatrists. This promotes equality of access and a sense of empowerment among patients, according to research published in the World Journal of Psychiatry.

Online psychiatry can offer a more laid-back and comfortable atmosphere for patients as well, according to Joshua Flatow, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles. Some people would not benefit from online psychiatry, however, according to Dr. Flatow, including “people having deep delusions and paranoia, and experiencing intense fear,” he says.

What to Expect at Your First Online Psychiatrist Consultation

If you’re new to online psychiatry, you may have questions about what to expect at your first appointment. The good news is that most virtual platforms do a nice job of explaining the process and what to expect. The main focus during the first online psychiatric appointment among all platforms on our list is to cover health history and determine a plan for treatment.

According to University Hospitals, the psychiatrist may ask you about the following during your initial evaluation:

  • Any behaviors that are bothering you, when they occur, how long they last, and what triggers them
  • How these behaviors affect work, school, and relationships
  • Any physical and mental health symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Personal and family health history, including mental health

Once the health history and mental health evaluation are complete, the psychiatrist or psychiatric NP will discuss a treatment plan with you that may include medication, therapy, and a follow-up plan. Just like during in-person visits, if you make a mutual decision with the psychiatrist about medications, they can send a prescription electronically to the pharmacy of your choice or directly to your home, depending on the platform.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Psychiatrist

If you’ve decided to move forward with seeing an online psychiatrist, there are some important factors to consider when choosing the right platform and provider. For example, you’ll want to consider:

  • Cost of sessions and how it fits your budget
  • Whether you have a private area for sessions
  • Ability to change psychiatrists
  • Flexibility and accessibility for session times and days
  • Insurance benefits, if you’re using them
  • Online reviews, both positive and negative

How We Research and Evaluate Online Psychiatrists

Our reviews team extensively scrutinizes any service we research and recommend, including the online therapy market. We only recommend online therapy platforms we believe will make a difference for our readers.

Together, we’ve researched prominent brands through the experiences of real customers collected by trusted third-party reviews sites such as the BBB and Trustpilot. We’ve also consulted with independent psychologists and other mental health professionals to better understand why people seek out online therapy and read the latest research on the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy.

When evaluating each company, we consider the session types they offer, the modes of therapy they specialize in, the credentials of their therapists, their business reputation and reported customer satisfaction, the ease of registration, and how easy it is to use the service. Price, payment options, and whether the company accepts insurance are crucial components to consider. We always try to recommend a range for all budgets, with special consideration for lower budgets.

After our experts have selected the best online therapy platforms on the market, a practicing and independent licensed therapist reviews our picks to audit each company as a whole and ensure that every selection we recommend is appropriate for the users we identify.

The Bottom Line

Seeking help from an online psychiatrist can be a convenient and effective way to access mental health treatment and medication management. There are several telehealth and online mental health platforms but not all have psychiatrists, so check the fine print before signing up if you need medication management. All of the platforms included in this roundup allow you to request a provider who can prescribe psychiatric medications (e.g., a psychiatrist or psychiatric NP), which is noted in each section.

When comparing providers, Brightside can be helpful for people new to therapy and medication management. For psychiatry telehealth appointments with insurance, consider an option like Zocdoc, while those without insurance should consider Sesame, especially with its $5 anxiety and depression medications. If you are seeking psychiatric care for a minor, MDLive is our top pick for adolescents, since the platform's board-certified psychiatrists treat individuals ages 10 and up, with parental permission. LiveHealth Online may be a good option for online psychiatry if cost is a priority. According to our survey of online therapy platforms, cost was the most important factor to 39.5 percent of respondents when choosing a platform. If the convenience of a highly rated app is important to you, Doctor on Demand is our pick.

In Emergency Situations

If you are in crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. This includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7.

You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance abuse disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and social worker?

Psychiatrists have a medical degree followed by a postgraduate residency with a focus on the biological aspects of mental illness. Since they have a medical degree, they can prescribe medication. In contrast, psychologists have a graduate degree in psychology with a focus on human behavior, according to the APA. Social workers attend graduate school in social work and must have either a master’s in social work or a licensed clinical social worker degree. All these professionals must have a license granted by their profession in each state they practice in.

Is online psychiatry as effective as in-person psychiatry?

Whether online psychiatry is as effective as in-person psychiatry depends on several variables such as the mental health condition being treated, the psychiatrist and client relationship, and the number of sessions and treatment frequency. There are limited studies referencing telepsychiatry compared to in-person treatment, making it difficult to determine whether the two methods are equally successful in treating mental health conditions, according to a review published in September 2020 in The American Journal of Psychiatry. That said, the APA points to research showing that telepsychiatry and online therapy can be effective and increase access to care. Another review found that telepsychiatry is effective across multiple age groups and clinical settings.

Do I need a referral for an online psychiatrist?

None of the platforms on our list require a referral. If you’re using health insurance to help pay for psychiatry sessions or medication, check your insurance plan first to see whether they require a referral.

Can online psychiatrists prescribe medication?

Yes, online psychiatrists can prescribe medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Although the DEA has made exceptions related to prescribing controlled substances via telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency, none of the platforms we considered currently allow their providers to prescribe DEA-controlled substances that require in-person visits and regular monitoring.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

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  • Interview With Joshua Flatow, MD. Pacific Mind Health. May 2022.
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