With 10 million Americans living with anxiety and 20 million with depression, it’s safe to say that these are two of the most common mental illnesses in the US. And unfortunately, those numbers continue to grow with the onset of COVID-19 and the rest of the events of this year.
This brings me to my next point, the need for mental health care and treatment is on the rise, while simultaneously the ability to physically be in the same room as a therapist is diminishing. How are we supposed to get the help and treatment so many of us desperately need, especially during this trying time?
That’s where D2C telehealth services like Brightside come into play. Brightside offers virtual mental health care that’s designed to help those with depression and anxiety, without requiring them to ever leave their home. They are on a mission to make mental health care more accessible for the 75% of Americans with anxiety and depression that aren’t getting the care they need and deserve.
This service seems like the perfect antidote to a tricky situation, but is Brightside legit? Can you really get effective help for your anxiety and depression symptoms online? I explored Brightside and am bringing you my full review of their service along with my personal thoughts and recommendations.
What is Brightside?
Brightside is a telehealth company that’s committed to delivering life-changing anxiety and depression treatment by offering both evidence-based therapy and FDA-approved medications. Their mission is to provide personalized, evidence-based care from industry experts to all those who are in need.
The company was founded in 2017 by Brad Kittredge (CEO) and Jeremy Barth (CTO), both of whom experienced personal relationships with family members who were affected by depression and anxiety. The company was born out of Brad and Jeremey’s shared desire to help other families cope with and overcome the effects these illnesses have. They are providing the kind of care and attention that they wished their family members had received.
They intend to set a new standard of healthcare in a system that is so clearly flawed. They do this by designing a clear path “back to being you,” which is guided by their expert team of Doctors, Therapists, and technology that’s custom-built to care for anxiety and depression.
Here’s what their model of mental healthcare looks like when compared to traditional care:
How Brightside Works
Brightside’s team of professionals will take you through a process that allows them to get to know you and the type of care that will best serve you, giving you the best possible results.
Here’s what that process looks like:
Discover where you’re at with Brightguide™: You’ll begin by answering a simple set of clinically-proven questions that will help you understand where you’re currently at so that you can make an informed choice between therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Check your progress with Your Path™: Brightside’s science-based, personalized tracker will help you stay on top of and in control of your care.
Receive ongoing support from anxiety and depression specialists: Along with the latest tools and techniques, your Brightside providers will support you every step of the way.
This proven process is designed to give you the best tools and resources to allow you to feel the improvement of your symptoms. In fact, 83% of Brightside members report feeling better within just 12 weeks.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Brightside uses evidence-based research and treatments to create comprehensive care plans that use multiple approaches to ensure the best outcomes. The three primary treatments for depression include the following:
Self-care and Lifestyle Habits
Everyone that signs up as a Brightside member gets access to tools and resources that can build the skills and resilience needed to compliment your therapy and/or medication protocol. They have a Brightside Skill kit and dedicated content that will guide you through the journey.
Brightside offers professional therapy from a licensed provider, delivered to you via messaging, and coming soon, video. You will complete evidence-based audio sessions that will equip you with the skills and information you need to feel better.
Brightside’s licensed providers can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and personalized treatment plan. These plans may include antidepressant medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, and more). Once prescribed, they will deliver your medication right to your door, no need to wait in line at the pharmacy. You’ll also never have to worry about running out because they will deliver to you on autopilot every month that you hold your membership. Your doctor will monitor you closely and make adjustments as needed.
You can also utilize a combined approach to treatment, using medication and therapy to make the most progress and get the best benefits. Your Brightside provider will work with you to determine which method(s) are best for you and your situation.
Medication Through Brightside
When it comes to medication to treat your symptoms, you won’t be issued the standard, one-size-fits-all medications. At Brightside, they do things differently, pinpointing which FDA-approved medication is right for you with their Brightfinder - a smarter way to prescribe medication that’s based on research, your personal data points, and the option of ample RX options.
Medication prescribed through Brightside is available to people 18 years of age or older and in the states where Brightside operates ( Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia) and who believe they could benefit from medication designed to lessen symptoms of depression.
If you’d like to explore medications for depression, here’s how the process works:
Take Brightside’s online assessment, answering questions about yourself. Be sure to be as detailed and specific as possible so that your doctor can thoroughly evaluate your situation.
Connect with your doctor and meet for a comprehensive consultation via video chat, which lasts about 15-20 minutes. You’ll chat with your doctor about how you’re feeling and how you’d like to move forward. Together, you’ll come up with a plan for your care.
Adhere to your plan of care: If your doctor recommends a medication, it will be shipped right to your door in approximately 4-5 business days. All refills that are authorized by your doctor will arrive monthly. Along with your medication plan, you will have access to digital therapy and self-care tools that you will be able to use at your own pace.
Start feeling better and making progress towards symptom elimination. Your provider will check in with you weekly to discuss your symptoms and side effects, monitoring your progress, and making any necessary changes to your plan to allow for best results.
Brightside Therapy Services
Brightside therapy uses clinically proven approaches to help you learn new habits and break the exhausting cycle of anxiety and depression. Their therapy services are available to people 18 years and older who live in the following US states: California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
If you live in one of these states and would like to explore therapy through Brightside, here’s a peak at what the process looks like:
Take their online assessment, explaining how you’re feeling and their licensed therapists will help you understand what it means.
Connect with one of Brightside’s licensed therapists who will provide support and guidance that will help you to build your skills and feel better.
Complete your personalized, self-paced audio sessions and exercises while building the evidence-based skills and habits you need to overcome your anxiety and/or depression.
Make measured progress towards your goals, reporting back on what’s working well for you and in what areas you’d like to go deeper into. Your therapist will work with you to guide you through your personalized program so that you can realize the best possible results.
How Much Does This Telemental Health Service Cost?
The cost for treatment through Brightside is as follows:
Medication Plan: $95 per month + your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. This includes your comprehensive remote physician consultation, your monthly medication delivered to your door, and ongoing support and monitoring from their licensed physicians.
Therapy: $165 per month for unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist around the clock.
Medication + Therapy Plan: $240 per month + your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. With this plan, you’ll get all the benefits of the medication and therapy plans combined.
Reviewing the Benefits Of Brightside
Personally, I am very impressed with Brightside, their origin story, mission, and level of service they are providing to the millions of Americans who suffer from anxiety and depression. Here are some of the top benefits of this online therapy service:
- Affordable plans
- Access to high-quality, professional, licensed doctors and providers
- No long waits for appointments
- 24/7 unlimited chats with a licensed therapist
- Medications delivered right to your door
- Access to materials to help bolster your journey
- Periodic check ins from your provider to ensure you’re where you should be
- Cutting edge technology and systems
Before beginning any type of treatment, you should always seek to understand the service fully. Below, I answer some common questions about Brightside, but you can also reach out to their support team directly at [email protected] for more information.
Q: Why choose telemental health over in-person care?
A: Both depression and anxiety are diagnosed by comparing your symptoms to the known attributes of these conditions. Since there are no blood tests or physical symptoms that need to be tested, seeking treatment online is often more convenient for people. Additionally, choosing mental health care online allows the opportunity for closer monitoring and a more intimate relationship with your doctor, which is particularly beneficial when it comes to medications as dosages often need to be adjusted and it is much faster and more convenient to get in touch with your doctor online than in-person in most cases. Lastly, you get to skip all the waiting, germ exposure, and pharmacy trips when you choose telehealth.
Q: What do I do if I am experiencing a mental health crisis?
A: If you’re in emotional distress or thinking about harming yourself, it’s vital that you seek proper help ASAP. You can call 911 or go to your local emergency room, text the Crisis Text Line ‘HOME’ to 741-741, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.
Q: Do I need to have a video visit in order to get treatment?
A: In order to get prescription medication, you will be required to complete a video visit with your provider so that he or she can conduct a proper evaluation. For therapy, communication is strictly through messaging right now, but video chats will be available soon.
Q: What if I don’t like the provider that’s assigned to me?
A: Brightside does their best to match their members with the best fitting provider, however, there are some restrictions when it comes to state licensure and availability schedule. If for some reason you would like to request a different provider, you can reach out to Brightside support [email protected].
Q: How do I cancel my subscription?A: There are no commitments when you sign up for a subscription with Brightside, however, if you are on the medication plan, they will ask that you speak with your provider before cancelling your subscription to make sure that you get the best care moving forward. For therapy care, you can email [email protected] to request that your membership be cancelled.
Final Thoughts: Is this telehealth service for depression and anxiety worth it?
Depression and anxiety are extremely common and should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, many people suffer with their symptoms in silence, afraid to take the next step to getting treatment. Thankfully, telemedicine services like Brightside are making it easier and more accessible than ever before for those dealing with the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression to get the professional help they need and deserve.
Brightside is clearly dedicated to providing a high standard of care as evidenced by their commitment to employing only the best, most experienced professionals in the industry and their commitment to focusing on anxiety and depression only, allowing them to provide a level of specialized care that you simply cannot get with your primary care doctor.
Brightside is changing the face of the mental healthcare community, allowing everyone a chance to access the care they need and deserve. So whether you have insurance or don’t, you can count on always getting the highest quality care possible without the high price tag that comes with traditional therapy.
If you’re experiencing symptoms relating to depression and/or anxiety, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get in touch with Brightside to how they can help you cope with and manage your symptoms so that you can live your happiest, healthiest life possible.