In most of our articles, you may notice that we mention our vetting process and team who carefully evaluates every aspect of a service before sharing it with you.

We want to make sure you have access to information about each mental health platform before deciding if it suits your needs.

While everyone’s needs are different, there are some industry best practices we use to research platforms and services before you see them in our articles. Healthline’s vetting process makes sure that you’ll only see recommendations for products and brands we stand behind.

Every product or service we recommend and every brand we work with is thoroughly vetted by our team for:

  • medical and professional credibility
  • product and service quality
  • company reputation
  • good business practices

Once a mental health platform has passed our vetting process, we put it through our scoring rubric. From there, we give it a Healthline score based on the following factors:

  • pricing and insurance
  • therapy formats
  • privacy
  • user experience
  • availability

The higher the score for the platform, the greater the value of the service in our eyes. We discuss these in a bit more detail below.

Pricing and insurance

Affordability is relative. To reward services with the most flexibility and affordability for all users, we divided this category into three main parts: payment options, pricing, and payment structure. Services can earn up to five points total.

We award services with additional options beyond self-pay a maximum of two points.

Payment optionsPoints
insurance accepted1
HSA/FSA accepted1

Depending on each service’s price range, it can earn one to two points.

Pricing rangePoint system breakdown
$100 per month or less2 (maximum number of points)
$100–$175 per month1.75
$176–$250 per month1.5
$251–$325 per month1.25
$326 per month or more1

Platforms that allow members to pay for a single session offer more flexibility than those that bill weekly or monthly. We award services that bill by session a maximum of one point.

Payment structurePoint system breakdown
billed session by session1 (maximum number of points)
billed weekly0.9
billed monthly0.8

Therapy formats

Online therapy is all about convenience. We break down this section into five different formats. Platforms get one point for each format they offer.

live chat (real-time responses)1
text messaging (asynchronous responses)1
phone call1


Privacy is essential for any online platform. The company should do everything it can to make sure your privacy and personal information are protected.

Our scoring system prioritizes platforms that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (HIPAA). If a company has HIPAA-compliant privacy practices, that’s a full five points. If not, it receives no points.

User experience

This category is difficult to standardize because each user’s experience is unique. To make our score as objective as possible, we decided to focus on how easy it is for users to choose a mental health professional and how readily available frequently asked questions are for users after signing up.

choice of professional3
FAQs for users2


Our final category is availability. If the service is available nationwide, we give the platform 2.25 points. However, if it’s not yet available in some states, we deduct 0.045 points for every state not covered.

If it’s available outside of the United States., we give it an additional 2.25 points.

And if the platform gives its users 24/7 access to mental health professionals and resources, the platform gets an additional half a point.

available nationwide2.25
available outside of the U.S.2.25
24/7 availability0.5

Before we mention any mental health platform or service on Healthline, it has to meet our strict requirements.

This helps make sure that as you’re searching for the right therapist for you, you’re able to choose from the best services available based on your budget, needs, safety, and priorities.