The rise of telehealth in the last few years has brought on a new wave of options to those seeking mental health help. In 2017, a small group of professionals, who have been personally affected by depression and anxiety, made it their mission to provide readily accessible mental healthcare to the public, and thus started Brightside.
Few online mental healthcare providers are as specialized as Brightside, which focuses on treating depression and anxiety. To do this, Brightside mental health professionals help you build necessary skills to improve how stressors are managed, alongside medication, Behavioral Cognitive Therapy, or medication in conjunction with therapy.
Most importantly, Brightside understands most people don't fit cookie cutter therapies and medication; to get the most out of treatment, you and your provider will work together to figure out what works best for you through guided clinically-proven skill-building, weekly check-ins, unlimited messages, and medication (in states where available) or monthly sessions if elected.
After taking a survey, Brightside utilizes a system of 100 points of unique data to gauge the user's level of anxiety and depression experienced, in order to provide the best possible therapy fit.
The questions in the assessment are backed by clinical research, and are then used by Brightside to match you with a mental health professional who will be your guide on your road to progress and feeling better.
Brightside's system boasts an 83% of members who not only saw a significant improvement in their assessment scores, but also their day to day life within three months.
Will you be part of that 83%? Read on to see if Brightside is right for you.
Easy and Efficient Sign-up Walkthrough
The Brightside Assessment
The Brightside creators understand your time is valuable, so their sign-up process doubles as the beginning of your journey towards better mental health. Registering for Brightside is completely confidential and as easy as going to the homepage.
To begin, click on the “Start Your Free Assessment” or “Get Started” buttons helpfully scattered on the website. Both the desktop and mobile versions of the Brightside website are cleanly designed for ease of use, making the registration and overall use painless and relatively fast.
The first step will take you to an assessment that'll aid your provider in finding the best treatment for you.
Here are some of the 25 questions in the initial evaluation, for which you have a range of answers to choose from:
- Over the past two weeks, how often have you experienced:
- Trouble falling asleep?
- Feeling bad about yourself, or that you are a failure, or let yourself and your family down?
- Poor appetite or overeating?
- How much are your feelings interfering with your ability to get along with your family and people close to you?
- How much are your feelings affecting your ability to focus and be effective at work or school?
Again, these questions are used by Brightside tech and the matched provider to find what your mental state is, and the best way to help you; therefore, it's imperative to your recovery you answer truthfully.
Brightside Secure Account
After the 25 answers are given a score, you'll be asked for your name and email address, so you can access your results any time you want. This will also give you access to the Brightside dashboard, which you'll also use to do things like track your progress and schedule therapy sessions.
As per their Terms of Service, all your information is secure and confidential. Brightside will not sell your information even should you choose to terminate their services.
Remote Therapy Eligibility
When you create your account, you'll be shown your survey scores. Users will find two different sets of numbers on two scales, one for depression and the other for anxiety.
The survey measures the depth of depression and anxiety you suffer from, and Brightside will suggest a plan of action, along with guided therapy. Although you don't need to choose the plan recommended by Brightside, you'll still need to select one of the three service plans in order to proceed: medication, therapy, or a combination thereof. As with most remote mental health services, people under the age of 18 cannot use Brightside.
After choosing the desired plan, you'll be asked a few questions to ensure online therapy is right for you. For example, people who are bipolar, schizophrenic, or have had suicidal attempts, may benefit more from attending in-person therapy. The program will also disqualify people with medical concerns, such as kidney and liver disease, from getting medication. Not every state is eligible for Brightside's services; make sure your state is valid under each plan's description.
Safe Payment Options & Guarantee
Once you are officially ready to begin, the next step is to submit your payment. Brightside accepts Visa or Mastercard, with FSA/HSA available as options as well. As of this review, Brightside does not accept insurance. You'll have to enter billing information, but like with everything in Brightside, your information is secure.
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with how Brightside works after you've signed up, Brightside offers a 30-day guarantee to refund your money. However, only one refund is available per person, so you cannot restart the service again and get another refund.
How Brightside Works
Perfect Brightside Match
Unlike many other popular remote mental health providers, Brightside has licensed psychiatrists alongside therapists. Within 48 hours of submitting your payment, you'll be matched with a therapist, psychiatrist, or both, depending on the treatment plan you chose.
Why the long wait?
Brightside uses trademark technology to match users with a therapist or psychiatrist, which incorporates data provided by your assessment to find a guide who is likely to work well with you.
Guided Therapy with a Personalized Treatment Plan
Once you're matched with a care provider, you will have a private video call with your match on Zoom. Your therapist will use this first meeting to understand your symptoms better and get you going on your customized plan.
You'll be provided with tools to build and strengthen your skills, which will enable you to make progress toward overcoming anxiety and depression. This independent part of the treatment uses scientifically-backed lessons, and works in conjunction with your monthly sessions and medication if you have selected either as part of your plan. Additionally, multiple check-ins help users and providers track progress and adjust treatment as needed.
Different Treatment Options
Personalized Therapy Plan
Every member of Brightside's team is a licensed and highly qualified professional in the field. Your therapist is certain to be a caring and supportive guide to you during your journey to a better you.
After matching up with you, your therapist will analyze a triad consisting of your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. With evidence-based lessons tailored to you, your therapist will work with you to reframe and replace unhealthy feelings and behaviors so you can feel your very best whether you're in therapy or not.
As you advance through the lessons, you'll be able to send unlimited messages to your therapist, have one-on-one video calls with them once a month or more as needed, and personally track your progress.
Remember your anxiety and depression scores when you first signed up? Your therapist's goal will be to get those numbers as low as possible.
If for whatever reason you want to change to a different therapist than the one assigned to you, you'll have to email Brightside at email@example.com.
Although not for everyone, medication can help ease your symptoms in order for you to be better able to approach life and its challenges.
One of the biggest issues in-person psychiatrists face is needing to do a lot of guesswork to decipher which medication will work best for their patients. At Brightside, however, your psychiatric provider has Brightside's PrecisionRx™ tool at their fingertips to take the guesswork out.
Using decades worth of meticulous peer-reviewed research on a selection of FDA-approved medications and Brightside's own data, the tech used to find the right prescription faster, saves both time and money that might be spent through the trial-and-error nature of in-office therapy and maybe even other online providers.
With the aid of PrecisionRx™, your doctor will choose an FDA-approved drug for the personalized treatment set out for you. You'll work closely with your provider to ensure the medication is helping your specific needs.
To do this, you'll have unlimited messages and video follow-ups to verify your prescription is working properly. If you experience any undesirable changes, or side effects, your provider will be easily accessible.
One of my favorite things about this service: Your medication will be delivered to your door monthly, without the hassle of needing to pick it up at the pharmacy, or the prospect of having to face the mental healthcare stigma that still prevails today.
Therapy and Medication in Tandem
For those who really want to kick their progress against depression and anxiety into high gear, getting both therapy and medication is the way to go. Brightside users who choose this combined plan, instead of a singular treatment plan, have an up to 60% better chance to recover.
Not Just Anyone Can Work for Brightside
To make certain users are provided with the utmost caring and effective treatment possible at Brightside, its founders verify the providers and therapists available to you are of the highest standards and experience.
Brightside's Chief Medical Officer is Stanford University School of Medicine graduate, Doctor Mimi Winsberg and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. She has recruited doctors and licensed therapists from some of the nation's leading medical institutions.
Every doctor and therapist in Brightside is trained by universities like Columbia University, Georgetown University, and Stanford University. Every therapist holds at least a Master's, and has many years of experience as therapists under their belt.
Whatever treatment plan you choose, you're certain to be in some of the most caring and capable hands at Brightside in the field.
Security and Confidentiality
Brightside is HIPAA compliant, which means patient data, especially medical information, will remain safe within the Brightside system alone. It also means Brightside has taken the appropriate measures to verify the security in every capacity.
The only exception to Brightside or any of its mental health care providers releasing any information about you, is if your doctor or therapist has reasonable cause to believe you or someone else's life is in danger and need to contact appropriate authorities (a more than reasonable clause).
A Final Glance at Brightside's Services and Cost
My absolute favorite thing about Brightside
The descriptions I've shared with you in this review of the plans listed in the chart above, don't do justice to the quality of treatments offered by Brightside. What really helps Brightside stand above its competitors is that no matter which plan users choose, the Self-Care program is free for all members to use at their own pace.
The program works in complementary fashion with all of the treatment plans available, by helping users build up their stress-management skills and resilience.
My Least Favorite Thing About Brightside
Short and simple: a lack of more streamlined customer support. Whatever the issue, when technical or with your treatment, all users and their individual issues are barreled into one email account. I can only hope this doesn't present an issue in receiving timely help.
Among the many online health care services, Brightside stands as a focused, researched-backed, comprehensive treatment that seeks to build your ability to process and handle stressors in a way that will enable you to combat depression and anxiety long-term. Based on its program and array of experienced professionals, Brightside is worth considering for those looking to treat their anxiety and depression.