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The best online psychiatrists can help people manage mental health conditions with medication. We researched the best options to try in 2024, which include Cerebral, Sesame, and Talkspace.

Below, we look at the best psychiatry platforms. We also provide a hands-on review for Cerebral.

Best for communication options: Talkspace

  • Price: $175–$299 without insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: accepted
The Talkspace app logo

Talkspace offers desktop psychiatry sessions and an app for Android and iOS devices. It claims to connect a person with a licensed psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner in their state within a week.

Talkspace features include:

A person needs to fill out an online assessment before Talkspace matches them with a psychiatry provider. People will consult the same psychiatrist for each session they book unless they decide to change.

People can also access online therapy with Talkspace.

Read our brand review of Talkspace.

Insurance coverage

Without insurance, an initial appointment costs around $299. Follow-up appointments cost around $175.

Some insurance plans, including Aetna, Cigna, Optum, and Regence, may cover some of the cost of Talkspace appointments. People can also use Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to pay for their sessions. However, the company states its services are unavailable through Medicare or Medicaid.

People can check their coverage on the Talkspace website, and the company provides an estimate of a person’s copay, which can be between $25 and $40.


  • offers licensed psychiatrists in all U.S. states
  • accepts a range of insurance
  • accepts HSA and FSA payments
  • flexible plan options
  • people can change their psychiatrist if necessary


  • it is expensive if insurance does not cover sessions
  • unavailable through Medicare or Medicaid
  • can take a week to match people with a psychiatrist
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Best budget-friendly online psychiatry: LiveHealth Online

  • Price: $75–$175 without insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: accepted
The LiveHealth Online logo

LiveHealth Online offers online psychiatry appointments to people over the age of 18. It states its doctors can treat:

They can also help a person manage their medication. The company claims all of its psychiatrists are board certified and have completed training in online psychiatry.

Individuals can choose which doctor they would like to speak with after reading profiles about their qualifications and experience.

LiveHealth Online says people can use its services and make appointments 24-7. However, the company warns that its psychiatric services are unsuitable for those experiencing suicidal thoughts or those in a mental health crisis.

Insurance coverage

People can create an account with LiveHealth Online for free. However, without insurance, an initial consultation costs $175. Follow-up appointments cost $75 each, which is lower than many companies and makes LiveHealth Online one of the best affordable online psychiatry options available.

Anthem and BlueCross BlueShield health plans cover LiveHealth Online appointments. A person can check that the doctor they select is in-network on the LiveHealth Online website.


  • psychiatrists take specific online psychiatry training
  • users have 24-7 access to care
  • lower per-session cost than other companies
  • accepts insurance


  • it is unclear how many insurance providers it accepts
  • LiveHealth Online cannot prescribe controlled substances
  • it only accepts people aged 18 and over
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Best for primary care collaboration: Amwell

  • Price: $95–$199 without insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: not accepted
The Amwell app logo

People can use Amwell’s services to access a wide range of medical care, including psychiatry, urgent care, and nutritional counseling, online.

Amwell uses board certified psychiatrists, and the company writes that they can help treat many conditions, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, OCD, and PTSD.

The company collaborates with a person’s primary care physician. This means duplicates of tests or medication are less likely to occur, and a person can find all their treatment information in one place.

People can book and manage their appointments via desktop or the free Amwell app, available on iOS and Android.

At present, Amwell only accepts customers over 18 years old.

Insurance coverage

An initial online consultation without insurance costs $199. Follow-up appointments cost $95. Amwell only accepts insurance for urgent care appointments, which does not include psychiatry. However, it states that many of its partner providers now cover online psychiatry, and a person can check their plan to see if they have coverage.


  • works with a person’s primary care medical professional
  • a person can also use Amwell for urgent care and other health conditions
  • available across the entire United States


  • does not provide medication delivery
  • does not provide services to individuals under the age of 18 years
  • does not always accept insurance for psychiatry
  • a person must check their specific plan for coverage
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Best for evening and weekend appointments: MDLIVE

  • Price: $108–$284 without insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: accepted
The MDLIVE app logo

People can see MDLIVE board certified psychiatrists via phone or video chat 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. This makes the service a flexible psychiatry platform for those who work or have other commitments during the day. Appointment times will vary according to the psychiatrist’s availability.

It claims that its doctors can help with hundreds of mental health conditions and have training in providing online care. It also offers appointments for people aged 10–17, making it suitable for families and younger individuals.

To start with MDLIVE, a person must create a free account and schedule an appointment. Users can look through the directory accessible online to choose a psychiatrist.

MDLIVE psychiatrists can send prescriptions to a person’s nearest pharmacy.

Insurance coverage

Depending on a person’s insurance coverage, initial appointments for telepsychiatry services cost $0–$284. Follow-up appointments are $0–$108 each.

MDLIVE states it accepts Cigna, Humana, BlueCross BlueShield, Aetna, and more.


  • sends prescriptions to a person’s nearest pharmacy
  • provides access to counselors and psychiatrists
  • helps with a wide range of conditions and problems
  • it is clear on which insurance providers it accepts


  • the availability of evening and weekend appointments will vary by doctor
  • higher price point for initial consultations than other companies
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Best online psychiatrist that takes Medicaid: Doctor On Demand

  • Price: $129–299 without insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: accepted
The Doctor On Demand app logo

Doctor on Demand psychiatrists are available for video calls 24-7. The company also offers American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and language translation.

Doctor on Demand writes that its psychiatrists can screen a person for mental health conditions and treat prediagnosed conditions. They can also prescribe medications, except for controlled substances, such as benzodiazepines and stimulants.

The main features of this service include:

  • video appointments
  • prescriptions sent to pharmacies
  • personalized care plans
  • 24-7 access to support

To start with Doctor On Demand, a person must complete an online mental health assessment. They can then browse the company’s psychiatrist directory and schedule a video appointment with their chosen professional.

People can book and manage appointments on the free Doctor on Demand app for iOS and Android.

Insurance coverage

Without insurance, an initial 45-minute consultation costs $299. Fifteen-minute follow-up appointments cost $129, and people can extend their calls for an additional fee.

A person’s insurance, employer, or Medicare plans may cover some or all of the appointment costs for Doctor On Demand services. Individuals need to make an account to check whether they have coverage.


  • offers 24-7 support
  • provides language translation and ASL interpretation
  • accepts Medicare


  • initial consultation fees are very expensive without insurance
  • people must pay for longer appointments
  • people must make an account to check their insurance coverage
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Best psychiatry subscription: Cerebral

  • Price: $99–$365 per month without insurance, $30 per month with insurance
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: accepted
The Cerebral app logo

Cerebral is a company specializing in virtual appointments for mental health conditions.

This company operates a subscription service. The plans include Therapy, Therapy and Medication, and Medication.

Depending on a person’s plan, a subscription can include regular video or phone appointments with a prescribing professional and a care counselor or licensed therapist. It is important to note that some of Cerebral’s subscription plans are unavailable in certain states.

For a Medication-only plan, a person can expect to pay $99 per month. Plans that include therapy and medication management cost $365 per month. For those with insurance, the monthly cost for all plans starts at $30.

Some plans include prescription medication delivery to the client’s home at no extra cost.

Read our review of the Cerebral brand.

Insurance coverage

The company accepts HSA and FSA payments and several major health insurance providers. Cerebral also bills a person’s prescription separately so they can use their insurance for medication.

However, people cannot use Cerebral if they receive support from Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Veterans Health Administration (VHA), or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Our tester’s experience

Healthline Associate Director for Commerce SEO Sydney Hanan tried Cerebral after receiving 2 months of free sessions from the company. Below is their experience.

“Cerebral is a good fit for people looking for convenient, remote therapy options. Although some people may prefer meeting with their therapists in person, this is a great option for anyone looking for more accessible therapy without having to take extra time out of your day to commute.

“Some things I really liked about Cerebral were that it was easy to use, it gave me the option to choose between ten different therapists, and it was easy to fit 45-minute virtual sessions into my day. Scheduling was also easy, as my therapist had plenty of availability, and although we usually scheduled our next sessions at the end of our conversations, I could also schedule sessions from the app or website.

“I also enjoyed working with my therapist. Because my anxiety is already under control, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have much to talk about with my therapist. However, she did a great job listening to me, understanding what motivates me, and creating a “treatment plan” to guide our sessions.”


  • accepts insurance, HSA, and FSA
  • offers a low monthly cost with insurance
  • people needing regular care may benefit from the subscription model
  • offers medication delivery


  • higher price point without insurance
  • does not operate in some U.S. states
  • only treats people over 18 years old
  • does not accept Medicare or Medicaid
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Best online psychiatry with no insurance: Sesame

The Sesame logo
  • Price: between $46 and $112 at time of publication, depending on doctor and location
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: yes
  • Insurance: not accepted

Sesame is an online platform that offers psychiatry, individual, and couples therapy. Sessions can take place online or in person.

The main features of this service are:

  • the ability to filter doctors by specialism
  • varied costs
  • same-day appointments
  • $5 medication in some cases

People can look at Sesame’s full directory of medical professionals and filter to find those specializing in psychiatry. People can check when a doctor is next available and a review rating.

Insurance coverage

People do not need insurance to use Sesame. At the time of publication, psychiatry appointments for new customers based in New York City, NY, cost between $46 and $112. Prescription refill appointments cost from around $35. However, these prices will vary depending on the doctor and the customer’s location.

Sesame accepts HSA and FSA payments for appointments and medication. While its providers are out of network for appointments, Sesame writes that, depending on their plans, someone may be eligible for reimbursement for using a doctor out of their network. People can also use their health insurance for medication at a local pharmacy.


  • same-day appointments are possible
  • does not require insurance
  • accepts FSA and HSA payments
  • appointments are often reportedly cheaper than a person’s copay


  • unavailable for emergencies
  • couples therapy only available to people in the same location
  • varying prices may not suit everyone’s budget
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Best psychiatry service with Crisis Care: Brightside Health

Brightside Health logo
  • Price: $95–$349 per month
  • Option to choose psychiatrist: no
  • Insurance: accepted

Brightside Health is a telehealth company that offers psychiatry services for people with anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and suicidal thoughts, among other conditions.

Brightside works with psychiatrists who can offer medication and therapy sessions.

It says its healthcare professionals use artificial intelligence to analyze over 100 personal data points to determine the best medication options for each person. Brightside states that 70% of people respond well to their first prescribed medication and that 75% experience remission from their condition within 12 weeks.

To start with Brightside, a person must complete an assessment before speaking with a psychiatrist, and the company says people can get appointments within 24 hours.

Without insurance, the Psychiatry plan costs $95 per month, and the Psychiatry and Therapy plan costs $349 per month.

There is also a Crisis Care and Psychiatry plan. This telehealth service is for people at a higher risk of suicide, including those who have attempted suicide, currently feel suicidal, and those who need follow-up care after being in the hospital. However, it is only available in certain states. People can only pay for this service through insurance.

Insurance coverage

Brightside is open to anyone, no matter what their health insurance status. People can pay with HSA and FSA.

Brightside accepts insurance and lists Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, Anthem, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas as some of its partners. However, it notes that insurance coverage can vary depending on the state.


  • appointments can be available within 24 hours
  • the psychiatry-only plan is affordable compared with competitors
  • Brightside accepts insurance
  • offers a Crisis Care plan for those with severe mental health conditions


  • the therapy and psychiatry plan is expensive
  • people cannot choose their psychiatrist
  • the Crisis Care plan is not available in all states
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The table below compares each of the online psychiatry services in this article. Prices reflect the cost of services without insurance coverage at the time of publication.

Initial consultation costFollow-up costAccepts insuranceType of appointmentsAvailable 24/7
Talkspace$299$175yes• video
• phone
• messaging
LiveHealth Online$175$75yesvideoyes
MDLIVE$284$108yes• video
• phone
Doctor On Demand$299$129yesvideoyes
Cerebral$99–$365 per month without insurance

• around $30 per month with insurance
yes• video
• phone
Sesame$46–$112, varies by doctor and locationvaries by doctorno• video
• in-person
Brightside Healthfrom $95–$349 per monthyesvideoyes

Medical News Today has independently vetted over 145 mental health products and services, including the psychiatry services in this article. We consider the quality, accessibility, and cost of each service before recommending them in a medically-reviewed article.

We chose the best online psychiatry services based on the following criteria:

  • Certifications: MNT only features psychiatry services that use board certified mental health professionals.
  • Trust: MNT includes companies that operate transparently regarding their products, services, and leadership. Also, where relevant, MNT selects companies with certifications from reputable, third-party organizations.
  • Business standards: MNT selects psychiatry providers that follow safe and ethical business and marketing practices.
  • Reputation: MNT chooses companies without warnings from governing bodies or unresolved lawsuits.
  • Cost: MNT chooses psychiatry services that suit a range of budgets. We also provide information on insurance coverage.
  • Reviews: We look at genuine reviews on trustworthy third-party websites, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot, to provide accounts of customers’ real-world experiences with a service. We offer balanced reviews and highlight when services exceed or fall short of customer expectations.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more about our vetting process.

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Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental health conditions, including prescribing medication. Online psychiatrists frequently hold appointments via a video or phone call. Some may even offer messaging services.

People may wish to consider how frequently they would use psychiatry services to determine the most cost-effective plan.

Learn more about psychiatrists.

What conditions can online psychiatrists treat?

Psychiatrists can help treat several mental health conditions, including:

Some psychiatrists may also help people with long-term or terminal physical health conditions.

Psychiatrists can help individuals manage the symptoms of their conditions through medication and other forms of treatment, such as psychotherapy.

Learn more about the services that online psychiatrists offer.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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Yes, psychiatrists can prescribe medication for mental health conditions. This can include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and drugs that stabilize a person’s mood.

However, depending on their state, some people may have to have an in-person psychiatry appointment before a psychiatrist can prescribe them medication.

Can psychiatrists prescribe controlled substances?

According to the Ryan Haight Act of 2008, a psychiatrist can only prescribe a controlled substance if they conduct an in-person medical evaluation.

This means that online psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances.

However, a psychiatrist could prescribe controlled substances if they have an agreement with someone’s primary care provider who consults with the patient in person.

Online and in-person psychiatry appointments are likely to be very similar.

In the first session, the psychiatrist may:

  • verify the person’s identity
  • explain how their service works
  • request information on their medical history
  • ask about current medication
  • talk about the person’s expectations and goals for the sessions
  • discuss therapy and other treatment options
  • explain what to do in a mental health emergency

In later sessions, a person can discuss how their treatment affects them, whether it has improved their symptoms, and talk about how to manage side effects from medication. The psychiatrist can then amend a person’s prescription as necessary.

Online psychiatry allows individuals to communicate with a psychiatrist via video chat or phone call. Some may also offer messaging services. Online psychiatrists may benefit people who cannot see a psychiatrist in person due to their finances, location, or health.

During in-person visits, psychiatrists can perform a physical exam and measure the individual’s blood pressure, especially if they offer a medical plan. This may not be possible through online psychiatry services.

Those companies with messaging services may allow individuals to reach out to their psychiatrist more frequently than those who have in-person sessions.

What is the difference between psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists?

Psychiatrists specialize in working in psychiatry with people with phobias, schizophrenia, and depression, among other mental health conditions.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), they can prescribe medications or recommend counseling.

A therapist is a licensed doctor who can provide mental health care sessions. They can also be counselors or psychologists.

They assess people’s past and recent life events and relationships to help them work through their problems. They also find the causes holding individuals back from moving further in their lives.

A person’s insurance coverage will affect how much psychiatry will cost.

The cost of using online psychiatry platforms can range from $30 to $365,depending on insurance coverage, location, and the psychiatrist’s qualifications. An initial consultation is often more expensive than follow-up appointments.

Insurance coverage for psychiatry

Most insurance companies will have a level of coverage for mental health services, including psychiatry. Some insurance providers may cover the full cost of the service, while others may only partially cover it.

In some cases, an insurance provider may cover medication costs but not the psychiatry session itself.

A person should check their insurance plan and which partners the service they want to use works with. Some online psychiatry services claim they can lower costs by not accepting insurance.

An increasing number of people are seeking and receiving video-based psychiatric consultations.

Research from 2022 suggests that telepsychiatry is a reliable and effective substitute for in-person therapeutic consultations. Studies within this work indicate that telepsychiatry and face-to-face psychiatric care have comparable clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction levels.

However, there is also evidence that people communicate differently on videoconferencing calls. This may lead to ethically relevant changes in the relationship between a person and their psychiatrist and therapy results.

The American Psychiatric Association recommends that individuals consult a therapist if they have any of the following:

  • nervousness
  • increased absenteeism in school or at work
  • mood changes
  • reduced interest in performing tasks
  • nervousness

If the symptoms interfere with the individual’s life, making it difficult to focus on work or hobbies, they may have a mental health condition.

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about online psychiatrists.

Online psychiatry can be just as effective as in-person psychiatry, although it is typically an expensive service to use.

Doctors on the Talkiatry platform may be able to prescribe someone Adderall if they think it is medically appropriate and it is legal to do so in their state without seeing the person face to face.

Talkiatry notes that there is no guarantee that a Talkiatry clinician will agree with a person’s past diagnoses or treatment plans.

Online psychiatrists cannot prescribe Xanax as it is a controlled substance. According to the Ryan Haight Act, a federal law, psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances to people they have not met in face-to-face appointments.

Although an online psychiatrist could agree to prescribe controlled substances if a person has seen their primary care provider in person and they have discussed it with the primary care provider, Talkspace says it cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Amwell cannot prescribe Xanax as it is a controlled substance.

Psychiatrists can diagnose and treat mental health conditions. They may prescribe medication or recommend other treatments, such as psychotherapy.

Various online companies offer virtual appointments with a licensed psychiatrist. Many of these psychiatrists can also prescribe medication.

Companies either require payment for each appointment or offer a subscription service. However, in many cases, they accept health insurance to help cover the costs of their services.