Empower yourself: Effective strategies for finding a high-quality therapist online

(BPT) - “How are you?” When most people get asked this question, the default answer is “fine.” But often, when you really think about how you are feeling, you may be struggling with your mental health. If so, you're not alone.

More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, about 1 in 25 U.S. adults lives with a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder.

While the stigma surrounding mental illness continues to diminish — about 47% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2021 — most adults still have difficulty accessing appropriate treatment. Among the most significant hurdles to care are cost of care and time constraints.

Online therapy bridges gaps

With the growth of telehealth and virtual care options, many people are exploring ways to seek treatment online. Virtual care can make therapy and medicines available in a more flexible manner no matter where you are located in the U.S. Additionally, telehealth options are often more affordable than paying out of pocket in a traditional in-person environment.

If you are considering finding an online mental health care provider, consider the following:

Do your research: Look for reputable online therapy platforms that provide access to experienced, licensed therapists. For example, Cerebral.com thoroughly vets clinicians, inviting only qualified clinicians to join the platform. Plus, they provide continuous training so clinicians are continuously improving.

Consider your specific needs: Determine the specific areas or issues you'd like to address. This could include anxiety, depression, relationship problems or other mental health concerns. Ensure that the therapists you consider are licensed and experienced in those areas.

Explore diversity and cultural compatibility: If cultural or identity factors are important to you, look for a therapist who meets those needs. At Cerebral, close to 50% of clinicians come from minority backgrounds. Additionally, Cerebral clinicians are experienced in providing supportive and ethical care to members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Don’t take shortcuts: Be sure to read the fine print. Some websites provide cheaper counseling or coaching services, which are usually NOT therapy. These alternative services often do not match you with a licensed therapist. Furthermore, some services are text-based only, or depend solely on technology-based care. These newer treatments have less clinical evidence for effectiveness as compared with traditional teletherapy. When it comes to your mental well-being, do not take shortcuts.

Why commitment to therapy is critical

Remember that finding the right online therapist and embarking on your journey to mental wellness takes time and effort. “Mental health is complex and unique to each person. Therapy doesn’t work overnight. It’s important to be patient and give it time,” said Dr. David Mou, CEO of Cerebral.

That’s why Cerebral launched Strong Start, a clinically proven two-month plan aimed to provide clients with the time and flexibility to develop and strengthen client-therapist relationships, achieve consistent results, and commit to the journey to mental well-being.

Strong Start offers three affordable starter package options, including a therapy plan, a medication management plan, and a combined plan with both services. All Cerebral care plans are FSA and HSA eligible, making them even more budget friendly.

Why commit two months?

A two-month period is the minimum amount proven to deliver better clinical outcomes. Based on a study of more than 70,000 Cerebral clients with moderate to severe anxiety and depression, those who committed to therapy for two or more months were three times more likely to report feeling significantly better.

“With a two-month commitment, Strong Start gives you a solid foundation for reaching your mental health goals,” said Dr. Mou. “Everyone deserves the chance to feel their best.”

For more information and to get started, visit Cerebral.com.