BetterHelp in Canada: Features, Pricing for Canadians

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BetterHelp is one of the largest online therapy platforms where clients seeking mental health treatment can get support online from a trained and licensed therapist, psychologist, or counselor, in a secure and confidential format. Though BetterHelp’s therapists are based in the United States and the majority of users are located in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., anyone can access support from BetterHelp. 

It is important to note, BetterHelp does not accept insurance, however, they do offer affordable pricing, financial assistance. 

Betterhelp’s mission statement is, “making therapy accessible, affordable, and convenient – so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime and anywhere.” Betterhelp offers plans as low as $80-$115 (CAD)/week, billed monthly, which may be comparable to some co-pay requirements of insurance companies. Though Canada’s healthcare system will cover the costs of psychiatrists and medically related psychotherapy treatment, typically, regularly scheduled psychotherapy is not covered under their universal healthcare plan.

In this article, we will discuss BetterHelp’s services in relation to Canadian consumers, pricing options, payment plans, and more.

Are there BetterHelp counselors in Canada?

While all of BetterHelp’s therapists, psychologists, and counselors are currently located in the United States, any person living in another country can access support from BetterHelp. While some therapists at BetterHelp speak other languages in addition to English, the number of these bilingual therapists is limited. Therefore, if you do not live in the United States and would like to receive support from BetterHelp, English fluency and adhering to available time zone options, will allow for the best service opportunities.

Is BetterHelp covered by health insurance in Canada?

Canada is well known for their universal health care system. While mental health treatment through a psychiatrist or a general practitioner is covered by Canada’s health care program, regularly scheduled psychotherapy visits for non-emergencies are not covered. The good news is, BetterHelp offers affordable options with lower costs than the price of many insurance company co-pays. Another benefit of utilizing BetterHelp services is, clients are often paired with therapists within 24 hours – whereas wait times in Canada for psychiatric or mental health care can take far longer.

BetterHelp costs in Canada

BetterHelp Canada offers both a weekly and a monthly subscription plan. The weekly plan costs between $80-$115 (CAD) and includes one live session (video chat, live messaging, or a phone session) plus unlimited messaging. The monthly subscription plan costs $307-$409 (CAD) and includes four live sessions (video chat, live messaging, or a phone session) plus unlimited messaging. 

The cost of online therapy through BetterHealth is very affordable compared to in-person therapy treatment. In-person therapy can cost on average $200 (CAD) per session, which is about $120-$85 (CAD) more than BetterHelp’s weekly subscription plan. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy is on par with in person therapy.

BetterHelp believes in everyone having access to mental health services and therefore offers financial assistance to students, veterans, those struggling with living costs, and those who make less than $50,000 (CAD) per year. In order to qualify for their financial aid, you must fill out the required paperwork and submit it. 

BetterHelp offers discounts and specials throughout the year, so be sure to check their website for the most up-to-date discounts and free-trial offers. Pricing is determined based on the availability of the therapist, the platform’s current demand for services, and the client’s location.

Canada’s BetterHelp features

There are four different ways in which to engage in BetterHelp’s therapeutic services

  1. You can exchange messages in a secure room 24/7 and the therapist will respond as soon as possible.
  2. You can chat live with your therapist at a scheduled time, exchanging messages in real-time.
  3. You may talk with your therapist over the phone for sessions. 
  4. You may have a video conference session live with your therapist. 

BetterHelp addresses many mental health issues including anxiety, depression, relationship struggles, and more. BetterHelp would not be a good fit for you if:

  • You are a minor
  • You require court-ordered therapy
  • You are seeking medication management and prescription services
  • You require an official diagnosis
  • You are experiencing an urgent crisis or an emergency

BetterHelp is geared towards adult clients seeking individual treatment. If you are interested in seeking services for couples counseling, you can check BetterHelp’s sister site, ReGain review. If you are seeking counseling for your teenager (13-19), you can check BetterHelp’s other sister site, TeenCounseling. Currently, BetterHelp does not offer therapy to children, nor do they have a sister site that caters to this population.

How do I start getting support with BetterHelp?

All potential clients must first fill out a questionnaire and preference sheet in order to begin working with a therapist. BetterHelp will use this information to help match you with a licensed therapist. The questionnaire will ask about your mental health history, any physical ailments, and current symptoms you may be experiencing. 

The preference sheet is an opportunity to list your preferences for your therapist. Though you will be matched through BetterHelp, your preferences are taken into consideration and help determine the best practitioner for your needs. You can list preferences such as:

  • Years of experience
  • Specialization (anxiety, PTSD, anger management…)
  • Faith-based
  • LGBTQI experienced and friendly
  • Minority experienced and friendly
  • Male or female therapist

If you are not satisfied with your therapist, you may switch at any time. It is also important to note, you can switch your communication preferences at any time as well. For instance, if you had been using live chat and want to switch to video conferencing, you may do so upon request.

What are the therapists’ qualifications at BetterHelp?

BetterHelp therapists are all required to have either a Master’s Degree or a Doctorate degree in the mental health sciences. Therapists are trained, licensed, experienced, and certified by their respective state’s professional board. Therapists must have at least three years and 1,000 hours of clinical experience and also pass a BetterHelp exam in order to qualify.

The term therapist includes psychologists (Ph.D.), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). Providers must submit their licensure documentation and valid identification. Potential providers must also complete a case study exam as well as a video interview. Only 25% of applicants who apply are accepted by BetterHelp – establishing BetterHelp as a reputable provider of mental health services.   

BetterHelp checks the therapist’s licensure by contacting their respective state licensing board and verifying status. The therapist’s license information is available to clients so that clients can perform their own due diligence too.

What are the pros and cons of using BetterHelp?

Each client is issued a personal and secure online therapy room in which to exchange messages with their therapist. Here you can write about your thoughts, feelings, concerns and questions. Your therapist will then respond to your message with insight and feedback to help support you.

You can message your therapist in this room at any time. When your therapist has read your message and responded to you, you will receive an email notification alerting you of your received message.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I choose my own therapist? 

Betterhelp pairs you with a therapist based on your objectives, preferences, and the types of issues you would like to address in counseling. If you are not satisfied with your therapist and do not feel they are a good fit for your needs, you can request a different therapist at no additional cost. 
It can take time to establish a positive therapeutic relationship. It is estimated that it can take up to six sessions for many clients to feel comfortable with their therapist. Take comfort in knowing you may have to have a few sessions before determining if your therapist is a good fit or not. 

How secure is Betterhelp’s platform in regards to interactions between clients and their therapist? 

All of the databases are encrypted and scrambled so they essentially become useless in the unlikely event that they are stolen or compromised.” – Betterhelp

How does unlimited messaging work? 

Each client is issued a personal and secure online therapy room in which to exchange messages with their therapist. Here you can write about your thoughts, feelings, concerns and questions. Your therapist will then respond to your message with insight and feedback to help support you.
You can message your therapist in this room at any time. When your therapist has read your message and responded to you, you will receive an email notification alerting you of your received message.

Are BetterHelp services different in Canada? 

No, BetterHelp offers the same mental health services in Canada as they do in the United States. 

How long does treatment take? 

Treatment time depends on a number of factors such as the therapists’ experience, the current issue, the client’s willingness to do the emotional work, the client’s environment, and more. 
While someone who is experiencing a life change like switching careers, may only need 10 sessions to feel supported and experience symptom relief, a client suffering from years of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) may require 20 sessions or more.

Conclusion

BetterHelp in Canada is an affordable option for mental health support and treatment. Though some psychiatric treatment is covered through Canada’s universal health care plan, most psychotherapy is not covered through Canada’s Medicare system. It is also important to mention that the few general practitioners who are trained and qualified to offer mental health services under Canada’s Medicare, may require extensive wait times to deliver services.

While online mental health treatment is not for everyone, online therapy is affordable, has a variety of therapists with varying specialties, and typically offers expedited treatment. With several affordable subscription plans, annual discount opportunities, and financial aid to those who qualify, BetterHelp is a great option for affordable care wherever you are located.

Lauren Reynolds - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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