Talkspace vs Brightside Which is Better for Who? Online Mental Health Review

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on February 18, 2023
Our team evaluates mental health products, services and platforms like BetterHelp. If you click a link below and make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Deciding between Talkspace and Brightside for mental health care is a big decision.

Both services offer the same basic features, such as unlimited messaging with a dedicated therapist or counselor. Still, there are subtle differences in each platform that could make one better than the other.

  • For instance, Talkspace has more Employee Assistance Programs coverage, generally superior to insurance coverage, but Brightside provides more insurance access.
  • There are a few differences in plans and costs (with one clear winner for medication + therapy)
  • Our conversation with the Talkspace therapist was better than our Brightside therapist. However, Brightside has a much better intake questionnaire.

At Online Mental Health Reviews:

  1. Our mission is to help you sort through the bevy of online mental health options, so you clarify what’s best for you.
  2. Brightside – Our team purchased 1 month of Brightside Therapy + Meditation subscription plan, met with providers, and secretly recorded our entire experience (keeping provider details anonymous).
  3. Talkspace – We also bought 1 month of Talkspace therapy
  4. We’ve extensively researched Talkspace and Brightside and are here to give you the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Talkspace Video Tutorial - Sign-Up, Cost, and A Secret, Live Therapy Session
Brightside Health Video Tutorial - Sign-Up, Plans, Therapy, Refund - Entire Process Recorded & Documented

My Talkspace vs Brightside Takeaways

  • Talkspace covers a broad spectrum of mental health, whereas Brightside specializes in evidence-based treatments for anxiety and depression.
  • Talkspace and Brightside are primarily equal in pricing and insurance, with Brightside slightly preferred, but only Talkspace offers a text-message-only subscription which is the cheapest.
  • Brightside customer reviews are better than customer Talkspace reviews, and Talkspace also has more ongoing legal and reputational concerns.

Our Safest Conclusion Based on Analysis: Go with Brightside if your insurance covers it and if you are struggling primarily with anxiety or depression. If you are paying out of pocket, Brightside costs are lower.

This means we are most confident that if the above circumstances are present (insurance, anxiety/depression, out-of-pocket), Brightside is a better choice for you with a strong likelihood.

However, Talkspace is most likely better in other situations:

Talkspace vs Brightside Situational Conclusions:

  1. Talkspace is better … If you have a company employee plan, Talkspace may cover more of your costs than Brightside.
  2. Talkspace is better … if you want an unlimited therapy text subscription (the cheapest option)
  3. Brightside is better for both the medication and therapy + medication subscriptions.
  4. Talkspace is better … if you want to choose your therapist
  5. Brightside is better … if you are worried about getting a refund

If you look at all the data and combine our experiences, we believe that overall, Brightside is the superior investment in your mental health when compared to Talkspace.

How did my team and I arrive at these conclusions? Time to dive into Online Mental Health Review – Talkspace vs Brightside.

Why This Talkspace vs Brightside Online Mental Health Review

Today, mental health awareness is becoming increasingly accepted, and with the rise of technology, more people are turning towards online services for mental health.

Unfortunately, with so many options available, knowing which one is right for you can be hard.

This review article will compare Talkspace and Brightside, two popular online therapy services that provide prescription medications if necessary.

  • When is Brightside better than Talkspace?
  • Does your insurance cover Brightside too, or only Talkspace?
  • Under what circumstances is Brightside a better choice and vice versa?

This review article will explain how Talkspace vs Brightside works and answer any frequently asked questions.

See the table below with our list of pros and cons and links if you want to learn more about Talkspace vs Brightside.

Please leave your review with your experiences using Talkspace vs Brightside at the bottom of this article. Your comment and total rating will update in the table below.

Our Team’s Online Therapy Review Process

When you choose an online counseling service, you want the best advice and help.

Our staff reviews services honestly so that you can choose which one to use.

What sets us apart from other online reviews is that we record ourselves using the products and services.

When we review online mental health products, we do the following:

  • We try out the services and write about what we find
  • Mental health experts with credentials write and edit these reviews
  • Third-party review compilation
  • Keeping an eye on mental health and Internet therapy research
  • Emails sent to customer service are answered quickly and completely
  • Reviewing Mental Health Services for more than 1,000 hours
  • Openness about biases and affiliate relationships
  • Comments give users a voice. Leave a review and your feedback below!

We hope our reviews will quickly help you find the right mental health provider.

Critical Lessons from the Talkspace Review

Talkspace Pro

  • Bloomberg1 says 40 million Americans can access Talkspace through health insurance or employee assistance programs. This makes Talkspace one of the most affordable and easy-to-use online therapy services.
  • Talkspace therapy is good. We had a meaningful, heartwarming conversation with an African-American woman therapist that was connected, impactful, and meaningful.

Talkspace Cons

  • Talkspace is the subject of several lawsuits, it doesn’t have good data security, and many customers have complained that they can’t get their money back (however, we were able to get a refund reasonably quickly using the strategy outlined in the video below – see section “Discounts”).
  • Talkspace says it makes therapy more affordable, but the costs are the same as with regular treatment (which is why we recommend insurance or EAP coverage)

Who is Talkspace for?

  • If you have health insurance or work for a company offering mental health benefits, you may get Talkspace therapy for free or at a lower cost.
  • If you just started therapy

Who Doesn’t Need Talkspace?

  • If your company or insurance doesn’t cover Talkspace
  • If you care a lot about protecting your data
Talkspace Review - $276-436
talkspace transparent logo

Name: Talkspace

Description: Talkspace might be for you if you're new to therapy or looking for mental health care that fits your schedule and location. Talkspace is an online service offering a range of mental health care options, including individual, teen and couples therapy along with psychiatry. Health insurance coverage is also accepted and various methods of communication are available to connect with therapists.

Offer price: $276-436

Operating System: Online

Application Category: Mental Health

Author: Online Mental Health Reviews

Overall
4.2
  • Third Party Reviews
    (3.5)
  • Quality
    (4.3)
  • Cost
    (4.5)
  • Design
    (4.6)

Takeaways from the Brightside Health Review

Brightside Strengths

  • Brightside is one of the most accessible and affordable online therapy services because it is covered by health insurance for 55 million Americans.
  • Brightside therapy and medication are good. We met with a female psychiatrist who was straightforward, very helpful, and practical. Even our talk in treatment was fun.
  • Brightside provided a thorough questionnaire, which made the reviewer feel better about the platform’s overall quality.

Please be aware that our Brightside psychiatrist did not suggest any specific medications. This pleasantly surprised us! We were relieved when no remedies were suggested because we had expected to be forced to take them.

Brightside’s Weaknesses

  • Brightside Health does not have any private Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • With a high rate of success, Brightside Health has traditionally specialized in treating anxiety and depression. This has meant that other problems, like eating disorders and suicide, have not been addressed. Although Brightside Health has recently added new services, not as much is known about them yet, so we mostly base our conclusion on what we already know about Brightside.

Who is Brightside For?

  • If you have health insurance, you may be able to get therapy services from Talkspace for free or at a reduced cost.
  • If you want to use therapies that have been proven to work (not faith-based)
  • Anxiety and depression are the primary mental health problems that must be fixed.

Who Is Brightside Not For?

  • If your insurance Brightside
  • If you are suicidal
Brightside Health Review - $95 - $349
brightside health logo

Name: Brightside Health Review

Description: Best Online Therapy Platform For Anxiety, Depression And Insurance Coverage

Offer price: $95 - $349

Currency: $

Operating System: Online Software

Application Category: Online Therapy Platform

Author: Online Mental Health Reviews

[ More ]

Overall
4.7
  • Third-Party Reviews
    (4.5)
  • Quality
    (4.8)
  • Cost
    (4.7)
  • Design
    (4.6)

How Talkspace vs Brightside Works

In the beginning, when you first sign-up and get matched, Talkspace is different from Brightside for several reasons:

  • Matching: Talkspace gives you a choice in selecting your therapist, whereas Brightside assigns you a therapist based on your answers from the initial quiz. Winner = Depends
  • Sign-Up Suvey: Talkspace offers a more generic initial quiz, while Brightside presents a comprehensive intake form that is FDA-approved and takes longer to fill out. Winner = Brightside

In the middle, after you’ve selected your subscription plan. Talkspace differs from Brightside for several key reasons:

  • Online Tools: Talkspace provides a journal, among other tools, while Brightside provides online tools and measures your behavior every two weeks so you can track progress. Winner = Brightside
  • Therapy / Counseling: Talkspace therapists often use CBT but also frequently use other techniques versus Brightside, which almost exclusively uses CBT. Winner = Depends

The other significant difference is that Brightside offers a prescription-only plan, whereas Talkspace includes prescriptions only with a therapy subscription.

Talkspace vs Brightside Third Party Reviews 

Third-Party

Trustpilot

Better Business Bureau

Reviews.IO

Mobile App (Android + IOS)

Talkspace

1.2 / 5 from 124 reviews

1.08 / 5 from 91 reviews / B rating

No reviews

4.5 / 5 from 20,000 reviews

Brightside

1.6 / 5 from 27 reviews

Unknown score / A+ rating

4.5 / 5 from 2700+ reviews

No mobile app

Overall, third-party reviews are equal for Talkspace and Brightside.

While Talkspace has many more negative reviews, they also have an app with many more positive reviews too.

Talkspace vs Brightside Key Points Table

FAQ

Talkspace

Brightside

Cost Per Month

$276 to $436 

$95 to $349

Take Insurance?

Yes, many insurance providers

Yes but only a few insurance providers are accepted

Types of Therapy

Individual, Couples, Family

Individual therapy based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Provides Education and Tools

Included with every plan

Included with every plan

Communication Options

Live video, audio, messaging

Live video, messaging

Prescriptions Available

Yes, $249 initial then $150 for follow-ups

Yes, $95 per month

Unique Features

- Accepts many insurances
- Variety of therapists
- Has mobile app
- More of a generalist approach

- Track your results
- Treat anxiety & depression with CBT
- FDA-approved  questionnaires

What Does Talkspace vs Brightside Help With?

Talkspace

Various kinds of counseling are offered for multiple mental health concerns, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Anger management
  • Depression
  • Family conflict
  • Parenting
  • LGBTQIA+ matters
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma
  • Grief
  • Insomnia

The popular types of Talkspace therapy and counseling for these problems include psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Brightside

Brightside offers CBT therapy and counseling to treat multiple depression or anxiety symptoms.

  • Bipolar 2
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PSD)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder 
  • Panic Disorder
  • Insomnia

How Do I Register At Talkspace and Brightside?

Both Talkspace and Brightside make their websites accessible for you to register online.

How Much Does Talkspace Cost? I Sign Up for a Monthly Subscription
How Does Brightside Health Work? I Sign-Up, Purchase a Plan, and See About Insurance Coverage

Does Talkspace versus Brightside Accept Insurance?

Brightside covers 55 million Americans with health insurance3 whereas Talkspace says only 40 million. However, they share many of the same insurance providers, so the insurance coverage is probably about equal overall.

Winner = Depends

Brightside vs Talkspace Therapy Subscription Costs and Comparison

Brightside Plan for Only Therapy ($299)

  • Through the therapy-only plan, you can see a trained therapist.
  • You can send as many messages as you like and have four 45-minute video chats monthly.
  • Your therapist will work with you to create a plan that fits your needs and helps you manage your mental health.
  • For additional video consultations with your therapist, you can pay $59 each.

Talkspace Plan for Only Therapy ($396)

  • Communicating using Text, Video, and Audio
  • Guaranteed Daily Answers, Available 5 Days a Week
  • 4 Live Calls Every Month, Each Lasting 30 Minutes

Please note: While more expensive, in our experience, the Talkspace therapist was more emotionally impactful than their Brightside counterpart. You may listen to both our “secret” shopper conversations below. We’ve removed all identifying therapist information.

My 1st Talkspace Therapy Session
Brightside Health Online Therapy - Live Session Recorded

Winner = Brightside

Does Talkspace or Brightside Prescribe Medication?

Talkspace and Brightside may prescribe medication but cannot diagnose or prescribe controlled substances. ADHD and Xanax, for example, are not diagnosed or defined by either Talkspace or Brightside.

Brightside, however, has a prescription-only plan for $95, whereas for Talkspace to access prescriptions, you must also work with a psychiatrist ($249 initial and $150 for follow-ups).

Winner = Brightside

Talkspace versus Brightside Therapy + Medication

Brightside – Both plans can be put together for $349 per month, a savings of $45. In addition to the benefits of the medication plan, you get unlimited messages and a weekly video session with a certified therapist who helps you navigate a customized program using evidence-based techniques.

Talkspace – You need to purchase therapy and medication separately on Talkspace. Talkspace Psychiatry includes an initial evaluation for $249 and follow-up sessions for $125 each, and Talkspace Therapy is $396 per month for a total of $645.

$349 versus $600+?

Winner = Brightside

Brightside Health 1st Meeting with Psychiatrist for Meds

Out-of-Pocket Comparison: Every Talkspace Plan versus Every Brightside Plan (including discounts)

Brightside Subscription

Cost

Texting

Doesn't Offer

Medication

$95 per month

Therapy

$299 per month

Therapy + Medication

$345 per month

Billing frequency

Only monthly billing

Cost Of Every Talkspace Payment Plan Option


ONLINE THERAPY - MESSAGING

$276.00 / Month

  • $744 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $1,320 / 6 Months (Save %20)

ONLINE THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING

$396.00 / Month

  • $1,068 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $1,896 / 6 Months (Save %20)

ONLINE THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING + WORKSHOPS

$436.00 / Month

  • $1,176 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $2,088 / 6 Months (Save %20)

TEEN THERAPY - MESSAGING

$276.00 / Month

  • $744 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $1,320 / 6 Months (Save %20)

TEEN THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING

$396.00 / Month

  • $1,068 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $1,896 / 6 Months (Save %20)

TEEN THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING + WORKSHOPS

$436.00 / Month

  • $1,176 / 3 Months (Save 10%)

  • $2,088 / 6 Months (Save %20)

COUPLES THERAPY

$365.00 / Month


PSYCHIATRY

$249.00 / Initial Evaluation
(+ $125 / Follow-up Session)

  • $365 for 1 Initial Evaluation + 1 Follow-up Session (save $9)

  • $565 for 1 Initial Evaluation + 3 Follow-up Sessions (save $59)

  • $849 for 1 Initial Evaluation + 6 Follow-up Sessions (save $150)

Questionable Claims And Common Complaints

The most common Talkspace complaint is being unable to get a refund early; you must complete the billing cycle, which can be longer than Brightside. Additionally, Talkspace is currently in a class-action lawsuit regarding data and privacy.

Brightside also doesn’t issue refunds before the billing period ends. However, Brightside, on the other hand, does not have many complaints.

However, in our documented experience with both Talkspace and Brightside, we could quickly obtain refunds.

How to Cancel Talkspace and Get a Refund
How to Get a Refund on Brightside Health

Who Should Use Talkspace vs Brightside (Or Not)

Here’s how to think about whether or not you should use Talkspace or Brightside:

  1. Does your insurance cover both Talkspace and Brightside?
  2. Are you wanting to focus on improving your anxiety or depression?

If your insurance covers both Talkspace and Brightside, and you want to work on your anxiety or depression, Brightside is the better choice.

Additionally, if you are looking for prescriptions, Brightside is the better choice (for anxiety/depression)

However, if you want to focus on a different issue (like anger management or LGBTQ issues), then Talkspace is a better choice. Additionally, if you are not a fan of CBT, Talkspace offers a broader spectrum of therapeutic approaches.

Talkspace also offers more EAP connections.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Talkspace vs Brightside Promo, Free Trial or Discount

Regarding a Brightside vs Talkspace coupon code, a Talkspace promo code, and a Talkspace discount code.

Both Talkspace and Brightside offer $100 off your first month. For Talkspace, use promo code SPACE, while for Brightside, the discount is applied automatically ($50 off for therapy plans and $50 for the medication-only plan). Neither service offers tree trials.

Talkspace vs Brightside Telephone # and Customer Service

  • Talkspace: For any questions, feel free to contact Talkspace at support@talkspace.com. Currently, the Talkspace department does not have a dedicated phone line to offer phone support.
  • Brightside: Call Brightside at 415.360.3348. Email Brightside at support@brightside.com.

In our experience, both customer review service times were slow. However, Talkspace was slower. They did answer our inquiries and provide refunds so our needs were met.

Choosing A Therapist

  • Talkspace: Talkspace gives you a variety of choices.
  • Brightside: Automatically assigns you a therapist based on your intake questionnaire.

Winner = Talkspace

Can You Switch Therapists at Talkspace vs Brightside

Yes, both Talkspace and Brightside allow switching without penalty. However, switching at Brightside takes a day or two longer.

How Fast Do Talkspace vs Brightside Therapists Respond

Talkspace therapists respond during weekdays within 24 hours, while Brightside therapists respond slower around 24-72 hours.

Winner = Talkspace

How Long Are Talkspace vs Brightside Sessions

Talkspace offers 30-minute sessions, whereas Brightside offers 45-minute sessions. Brightside allows you to purchase additional sessions, while Talkspace does not.

Talkspace vs Brightside FSA / HSA

Both Talkspace and Brightside accept FSA and HSA.

Talkspace vs Brightside Reddit Reviews

Brightside has no Reddit reviews, while Talkspace has primarily negative ones.

Talkspace vs Brightside Refunds and Cancellations

Both Talkspace and Brightside do not offer refunds, generally speaking, according to their FAQ pages listed on their website. However, in our experience, we were able to get refunds.

Talkspace versus Brightside Freezing and Cancellations

You can pause for seven days on Talkspace (which automatically pushes your billing date back a week).

You cannot pause your Brightside subscription.

Before we dive too deep into the details, you may be wondering …

What Are Competitors And Alternatives To Talkspace vs Brightside

Here are some online mental health and therapy competitors and alternatives to Talkspace and Brightside.

  1. BetterHelp
  2. Online-Therapy.com
  3. 7 Cups
  4. Hers
  5. Now&Me
  6. Hims
  7. CarePaths
  8. PsychCentral
  9. GoodTherapy
  10. Open Path Collective
  11. Talkiatry
  12. ReGain
  13. Amwell
  14. MDlive

Talkspace vs Brightside The Verdict

In conclusion, Talkspace and Brightside are both excellent options for people looking for online mental health and therapy services.

However, when deciding between the two platforms, it is crucial to consider the type of coverage needed, what is being treated, and budget considerations.

  • Talkspace offers more insurance options than Brightside; however, if you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover one of these services, Brightside may be more cost-effective.
  • Additionally, while Talkspace covers a broad spectrum of mental health issues, Brightside specializes in evidence-based treatments for anxiety and depression.

Depending on the needs of the individual user, either one could be a good choice – but overall when it comes to quality, Brightside is generally the better option.

If You’re In An Emergency Do Not Call Talkspace or Brightside

Online therapy may not be safe during a crisis. Call  911 for immediate assistance. This includes self-harm and others. If you’re contemplating suicide, call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline where there is  24/7 support.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA line is a free, confidential service that helps people with mental or substance abuse disorders find treatment and information 24/7/365.

Sources:

  1. Bloomberg Business. (2020, August 10). Talkspace Expands Affordable Mental Health Care Offering for 40 Million Americans via Insurance Coverage. Bloomberg. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2020-08-10/talkspace-expands-affordable-mental-health-care-offering-for-40-million-americans-via-insurance-coverage
  2. Brightside Health. (n.d.). LinkedIn. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.linkedin.com/company/brightsidehealth/about/

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