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Talkspace is an affordable and accessible online therapy service for adults, young adults, and couples. People can choose from a variety of subscriptions, programs, and features to meet their individual mental health needs.
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According to the Mental Health in America (MHA), in 2019 around 24% of adults reported an unmet need in receiving the mental health treatment they require, and as such, mental health in all age groups continues to worsen.
This article discusses Talkspace, how it works, and its reputation. It also looks at the services, features, and treatments available and some expected costs.
Roni and Oren Frank founded Talkspace in 2012 and oversee the company alongside a team of qualified doctors. The company has its headquarters in New York, NY.
The Talkspace telehealth service provides people with access to affordable online therapy with a licensed mental health professional.
Talkspace delivers its services through Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant and user-friendly web and mobile application platforms.
The company claims to provide individuals with confidential and fully encrypted communication with a licensed mental health professional. Individuals can send unlimited texts, pictures, and audio and video messages from anywhere and at any time.
Each individual’s needs will vary. However, in general, the following pros and cons may apply to using Talkspace for a person’s mental health treatment.
- Therapy variety. Talkspace provides individual, couples, and adolescent therapy, psychiatric evaluations, prescription management, and insomnia therapy programs. It also offers online therapy to employees through partnerships with several health plans. It also states that its health therapists have expertise in many areas.
- Customized therapy. Talkspace claims to connect individuals with therapists who match their specific needs and preferences from their nationwide network of vetted and trained licensed mental health professionals.
- BBB. Talkspace has accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Convenience. The company’s telehealth services make it easy to reach a mental health provider online. This is particularly helpful to people who are unable to do in-person visits, such as people with mobility problems, for example.
- Poor reviews. As many as 91% of the customer reviews of the company on Trustpilot are unfavorable, citing unacceptable response times, misleading information, and an uncaring manner. Several customer reviews point out that some Talkspace therapists have had poor online reviews.
- Complaints. At the time of publication, the company has closed 374 complaints over the past 3 years.
- Low ratings. It has a B rating on the platform and an average of 1.09 out of 5 stars based on 65 customer reviews. Trustpilot has the company rated at 1.4 out of 5 stars based on 66 reviews.
- Cost. If using Talkspace instead of an out-of-network in-person provider, a person may save a significant amount of out-of-pocket costs.
It is important to understand that Talkspace offers both therapy and psychiatry services. A person who meets with a therapist will be able to work on their mental health concerns by talking with the counselor.
However, unlike a psychiatrist, a therapist cannot prescribe medications. Seeing a psychiatrist through Talkspace might be a better fit for people with a diagnosed mental health condition, who require medication management.
Best for talk therapy
Talkspace offers talk therapy for:
- teens ages 13–17 years
For those who qualify as minors to receive treatment, their parents or caregivers must first give permission through an online video call.
According to Talkspace, a person can check in with their therapist 24 hours per day, 7 days per week via text messages, audio messages, and videos through their mobile app. A person can also cancel sessions and switch therapists at any time.
The company does not operate over weekends.
Although the service can be more convenient than conventional mental health services, some customer reviews mention nonresponsive therapists, lack of back-and-forth communication, delayed responses, and poor customer service. Aside from not receiving the support they need, many customers also feel neglected and ignored.
People who want to speak with a counselor through Talkspace therapy can choose from three subscriptions:
|Messaging therapy||Live therapy||Live + Messaging||Couples therapy||Teen therapy|
|Cost||starts at $69/week||starts at $99/week||starts at $129/week||similar to Live + Messaging it starts at $129/week||choice of messaging, Live, or Live + Messaging|
|What’s included?||messaging by text, video, or audio||four 45-minute live sessions monthly||messaging by text, video, or audio + four 45-minute live sessions monthly||messaging by text, video, or audio + four 45-minute live sessions monthly||depends on choice|
|Extra||can add a live session for $65/session||can add a live session for $65/session||can add a live session for $65/session||can add a live session for $65/session||can add a live session for $65/session|
Like adults, teens can select a subscription plan from these options. A person may be able to use their health insurance to cover the cost of a subscription, though many Talkspace providers may be out of network.
To find out if an insurance company covers Talkspace, a person should refer to their benefits guide or call the customer service number on the back of their insurance card.
In addition, if a person’s employer is partnering with Talkspace, a person may have additional access to the service. A person should speak with their employee benefits department for information.
Best for medication management
Talkspace also provides individuals with live video sessions with a licensed in-state psychiatrist for a personalized treatment plan that may include a psychiatric evaluation, prescription management, and follow-up consultations.
There are limited reviews of Talkspace’s psychiatry service. However, the available reviews are similar to those of their therapy services. Some customers are concerned about the lack of follow-up from some psychiatrists after initial appointments, especially after prescribing medication. The company appears to offer a refund in such a case, but if they wish to continue, a person may need to go through intake again to match with another clinician.
According to the Talkspace website, seeing a psychiatrist costs $249 for the initial evaluation and $125 per follow-up appointment.
In this case, the company only works with the following medical insurance companies: Premera, Cigna, Gatorcare, and Optum. A person may still be able to get out-of-network benefits of 50–90% of the cost.
Best for insomnia
According to Talkspace, a person begins by taking a 30-minute assessment. A person then gets assigned to a therapist qualified to treat insomnia.
Once the person and therapist establish communication, the therapist will create an individual sleep therapy plan, and provide educational materials, techniques, and ongoing support for the duration of the program.
There are no reviews of the service and no price is clearly available on the program’s page.
To sign up for the service, a person first needs to create an account through the Talkspace website or mobile app.
After having their account verified, they can complete a brief assessment, detailing their treatment goals and therapist preferences. They can then choose from the suggested list of therapist “matches.”
Alternatively, individuals can talk with an assigning agent about their goals and preferences and have them make a therapist referral that suits their needs.
After choosing a therapist, a person can select their preferred subscription type, which includes the frequency and number of sessions they can access each month.
Talkspace states that it does not share private information or private health information except when disclosure is required or permitted by law, such as during a medical health crisis.
The company claims to employ fully compliant HIPAA technology to ensure that a person’s data are kept secure and confidential.
All chat and communication between its software and servers are fully encrypted. Talkspace also mentions using nonidentifying and aggregate information for trend analysis and research.
Moreover, a person needs to enter their password and nominate a unique passcode when logging in to their Talkspace app. In addition, an iOS app can include Touch ID or Face ID for an added layer of security.
Generally, those who feel they need advice, tools, and solutions to support their current mental health should be confident they can contact a licensed mental health professional.
A person may find being able to contact a therapist at any time and by various methods appealing, and they might therefore consider Talkspace. However, reviews note concerns about response times.
Due to the limitations of the online setup, individuals in need of urgent mental health support should immediately seek help.
Warning signs of such a situation include:
- difficulties performing daily tasks
- abrupt mood changes
- abusive behavior, including substance use, self-harm, and harming others
- presence of psychosis, including hearing or seeing things that are not there
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 you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention 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.
Mental health is a vital facet of a person’s overall health and well-being and encompasses an individual’s behavioral, cognitive, and social well-being. It can impact day-to-day function and relationships.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between August 2020 and February 2021, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of adult individuals reporting anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms rose from
To meet the rising needs and to offer help in spite of quarantine restrictions, many healthcare professionals began offering online therapy and psychiatric sessions. This also aims to bridge the gap in access to mental health treatment.
MHA advises everyone to seek help if they notice the following signs in themself or others:
- disoriented thinking
- prolonged sadness and irritability
- social withdrawal
- substantial changes in eating habits
- presence of delusions and hallucinations
- suicidal thoughts
- substance misuse
- outbursts of anger
- increasing unexplained physical ailments
Persistent nightmares, hyperactivity, and changes in school performance can also indicate mental health conditions in younger children.
Where to find help
Where to find help depends on who needs help, the symptoms present, and the nature of the problem. However, a person can first contact a primary care physician, who can refer them to a specialist.
Individuals can also contact a local mental health organization. The
People can also consider using the following services:
- BetterHelp: Similar to Talkspace, BetterHelp provides online counseling for individuals, couples, and teenagers.
- 7 Cups: Aside from paid counseling and sessions with licensed therapists, 7 Cups offers people free 24/7 chat with volunteer listeners.
- MDLIVE: MDLIVE gives people easy access to doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists for various conditions.
How much does Talkspace cost hourly?
One session with a counselor costs $65. However, a person can pay less if they sign up for a subscription.
Does Talkspace prescribe medication?
Only a psychiatrist prescribes medication. A person can choose whether to see a counselor or a psychiatrist via Talkspace.
Can you get a diagnosis from Talkspace?
According to their website, Talkspace psychiatrists focus on medication management. For a diagnosis, a person may need to use another service or see a practitioner in person.
Talkspace is an affordable and accessible online therapy service for adults, young adults, and couples. People can choose from a variety of subscriptions and programs to meet their individual mental health needs.
It is of note, however, that online reviews mention delayed responses from Talkspace therapists, lack of empathy, and poor service.
An individual in urgent need of support should seek assistance from local health organizations that can provide immediate help.