People all over the globe are turning to online mental health services to address issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship dynamics and more. By examining how the industry is developing differently in the US and UK, we can learn a lot more about the direction online therapy is headed to.
Despite the rising awareness of mental health care in the UK, there is still a stigma associated with it. On the other hand, Americans feel much more at ease to visit a psychologist, unlike in Britain where the very admission of an ailment is regarded as some sort of a sin.
This is why some of the best online therapy apps are starting to gain a major foothold in the US, while still being quite niche here in the UK. Through them, patients can video chat, phone chat or text, and get instant assistance with whatever is bothering them.
Comparison between the therapy sites of USA and Great Britain
With long waiting lists on the NHS in the UK the situation has become so unmanageable that their website itself suggests people switch to alternative modes of treatment. Against this backdrop, apps like Talkspace and BetterHelp have surfaced in the US with claims of providing the right treatment through accredited counsellors and medical professionals.
To start with, both of these sites are online therapy service providers where you are matched with an individual therapist to work with you through your healthcare requirements. Talkspace has an additional psychiatry feature that can help the user get prescribed medication for the treatment of any mental health disorder. Let us first check out the services offered by each of them
TOP U.S. APPS
BetterHelp (best U.S online therapy platform)
- Over 21,000 licensed Counselors
- Live therapy sessions through phone, chat or video 30-45 minutes a week
- Access your therapist anytime from anywhere
- Easy to switch providers
- Most highly rated in the US
- Filtering option allows you to find the perfect therapist to match your needs
- Cost: $240/month to $600+ depending on location and availability
Talkspace (2nd largest, cheaper and more geared towards chat therapy)
- User friendly app offering multiple services including some covered by insurance as well as meditation management.
- Talkspace professionals must have over 3000 hours + of experience in their area of expertise.
- Free ten minute intro live video chat or call with a therapist on signing up.
- Couples therapy, teen therapy, psychiatry and sleep therapy.
- Cost: $65 to $159 a week depending on location. Psychiatric services begin from $199 with follow up charges of $125 per visit.
TOP UK APPS
Harley Therapy Platform( best for mental health and emotional well-being)
- To enable people to connect quickly and easily for quality well-being assistance.
- Largest and most reputable psychotherapy group in the UK
- Treatment for mental health as well as physical disabilities.
- Cost: The fees are decided on an individual basis by each therapist on the company’s platform. The minimum fee is £5.95+6% service fee.
Online-Therapy.com (best for CBT)
- Uses CBT to help you treat mental health problems and overcome your dysfunctional behavior, thoughts and emotions.
- Matches you with a qualified therapist who guides you till the very end with sections, worksheets, messaging, live sessions from any part of the world.
- Cost: Subscription starts at around £20 a week, which includes a 20% introductory discount to about £45 a week depending on the plan opted for.
OnlineCounselling (best for couples counseling and mental health)
- All counselors are members of the professional regulatory bodies of the UK and are based in central London.
- Provides the psychotherapy that is best suited to the individual.
- Works on several platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime.
- Cost: Initial consultation, personal counseling fees are £100 for one hour. Couples counseling from £130/ session.
The bottom line
Even though British perceptions towards mental illness have changed for the better in the last couple of years, the reticence, also referred to as the ‘stiff upper lip’ is still evident when it comes to expressing their feelings.
Having said that, stigma is not the only difference that separates the therapy sites of both the countries. The British NHS is free for everyone, but the waiting list can be very long. Citizens can choose to opt out of the system and pay for online healthcare, but the cost is considered expensive by their own standards.
On the other hand, the US Federal Government has loosened the instructions on telehealth to allow beneficiaries to access services from any geographic location. Moreover, many states are mandating fully insured private plans to cover telemedicine services fully, just as in face-to-face care.