More people are suffering from depression and anxiety than ever before. But people are starting to seek treatment through Online Therapy Apps. Find out why.
Can Online Therapy Apps Really Help?
The need for effective therapy is increasing, for a few reasons. Online therapy apps might be able to help.
First, the stigma on mental illness has never been as insignificant as it is today. In the past, it was thought that people who went to therapy were weak. Now, as more celebrities and influential figures are opening up about their own struggles with mental health. The public is beginning to show more understanding.
Additionally, conditions like depression and anxiety are becoming more and more common. As of 2016, cases of depression had increased by 33% from only 2013, according a study from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Adding it up, this means that there are more people that need therapy. Unfortunately, they may not be able to afford in-person counseling.
What Are Online Therapy Apps?
Online therapy apps are exactly what they sound like. Via an app, users can connect with professional therapists in a text/chat or video call setup. Allowing them to get help with the things that are troubling them without leaving home.
These apps — Talkspace and Betterhelp are the two most known, but there are others. Not just offering an outlet to people struggling with a range of conditions. These apps may actually help to normalize mental health even further.
They are a resource for people struggling with anxiety and depression, conditions that affect an estimated 18.1% and 6.7% of American adults, respectively, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Here are some other common mental health issues that can be helped by online therapy apps:
- social anxiety - affects 6.7% of U.S.
- phobias - 8.7%
- panic disorders 2.7%
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - 3.5%
- The Benefits of Online Therapy Apps
- We've already established that the best online therapy apps offer a more accessible path to mental health treatment, at a time when it's most needed. Here are some other benefits offered by Betterhelp, Talkspace, and other, similar apps.
- They're more affordable than conventional therapy
- While there aren't many (if any) reputable free online therapy apps, Talkspace and Betterhelp offer a more affordable alternative than standard therapy. For people with insurance, these apps may well be pricier than their copay for a counseling visit, but online therapy platforms offer an accessible option for those living without health benefits.
- Therapy becomes more convenient
- Not everyone has time to talk with a counselor in person on a regular basis. People with stressful work situations may have the largest need for therapy, for example, but their weekly schedule makes it impossible. Therapy apps make therapy more convenient and accessible.
- Some people with anxiety struggle with the thought of talking face to face with someone, even if that person can help. With a therapy app, they can stay in their comfort zone while receiving crucial intervention for mental illness.
- It's effective
- This is the biggest question about online therapy apps. Sure, they're convenient, sure, they're affordable, but at the end of the day, do online therapy apps really help?
- The American Psychology Association says that evidence points to yes, citing multiple studies that say that telemedicine is as effective as face to face care when it comes to mental health therapy.
- It's important to note here that not all online therapy apps are created equal. Talkspace and Betterhealth are well-known and well-reputed. They both give users access to a huge selection of qualified professionals with the credentials and specialties necessary for effective care.
- Public Discussions on Online Therapy Apps
The industries of mental health research and clinical psychology have weighed in with endorsements of the best online therapy apps, but what about celebrities? While there many high-profile personal stories of using Talkspace or Betterhelp, there are some notable endorsements and stories of celebrities mental health struggles in general that have helped build momentum for these apps.
Both Talkspace and Betterhelp have published articles on celebrities — musicians, actors, and public figures — who have come out publicly and talked about their struggles with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and more.
Talkspace has even signed 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps to advocate for their service. Phelps has been open about his personal battles with mental health and how fame has affected him emotionally.
Betterhelp vs. Talkspace: Which Is the Best Online Therapy App?
We've shown how, when it comes to apps designed to provide therapy sessions to those in need, there are two that stand out as the best and most highly regarded in this new market. These are Betterhelp and Talkspace. Here, we'll compare them an a handful of important factors:
Neither the Talkspace app or Betterhelp are cheap, but when you're replacing the expense of conventional therapy, people will be willing to pay more. Plus, both of these services have to pay to employ hundreds of licensed mental health professionals. When looked at with this in mind, both of the platforms are affordable.
As of November 2019, the prices for the largest packages with Betterhelp and Talkspace were $65 per week and $79 per week, respectively.
Options for Therapy Sessions
Both apps are similar when it comes to the platforms and methods they allow users to access their therapists. Both allow users to chat via a secure text platform, as well as set up video chats for the feel of an in-person counseling session.
One complaint about Talkspace are that the video chat option is only available on the app, while Betterhelp offers multiple options through the mobile app as well as on desktop and tablet interface.
Selection of Therapists
Both apps offer a wide variety of therapy options, licensed professionals with different ranges of experience and areas of speciality, all but assuring users of the services that they'll find a counselor who can help them with their needs.
The only difference between the two services is how they handle the selection. Betterhelp allows users to browse the database of available professionals. Talkspace does not, but ensures users that they'll be paired up with the best fit.
Reviews of both of these online therapy apps serve as evidence that both of them back up their claims with access to quality therapy, putting them jointly at the front of the pack.