Free Online Counseling For Chronic Mental Health Symptoms: What’s The Catch?

Updated January 27, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Maintaining our mental well-being is a lifelong journey, and one that ebbs and flows. Sometimes mental health struggles last for just a short period, while other times they become chronic problems. If you have chronic mental health symptoms and can't afford traditional mental health treatment, you may find yourself searching online for free online counseling services. 

Many things that are free in life tend to come with a catch, but there are options for online counseling that you can use at no cost to you. Let’s give you the real scoop on free online counseling, talk about why more people are seeking therapy options online, and answer the question, "what's the catch?"

Online Therapy Can Provide You With Convenient, Affordable Care

Free Online Counseling: What’s The Catch?

Free online counseling services offer people an introduction to online therapy. There are various options to consider, such as group therapy sessions, community forums, web articles, and chat forums, among others. These resources aren't intended to act as a stand-alone solution for serious mental health issues. However, there are some benefits to using them.

If you're serious about improving the quality of your life by taking care of your mental health, free options are a great way to get you started. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether no-cost counseling options online are the right fit for you, and there isn’t a catch. Free online therapy services may not be as in-depth as affordable subscription-based therapy and those covered (or reimbursed) by health insurance. However, it may still give you the confidence you need to make healthier decisions and increase positive outcomes in your life.

Free Online Counseling – Where To Find It

People may search for free online counseling to find relief for their symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other chronic mental health conditions. One of the most common reasons that people search for free counseling and chat-based services online is that they aren't aware of any other low-cost or affordable options for online therapy.

There are a few services that offer free online support for depression, anxiety, and related disorders for teens, adults, couples, and children. You can search for them in any search engine online. Some sites offer 100% free online counseling services with trained listeners who are available to people 24 hours a day. Free online counseling chat services introduce people to the world of online counseling by providing basic services. 

Affordable Alternatives To Traditional In-Office Therapy

Those with chronic mental health issues may seek free online counseling as an alternative or supplement to in-office therapy. Since people with chronic concerns often needs care frequently, they may look for options that make getting support more affordable. Otherwise, the costs can quickly add up and cause financial stress on top of the pressure that often comes with coping with a mental illness. 

Today's technology allows people seeking mental health services to connect with therapists online at a lower cost, or even cost-free. Managing and recovering from a mental health disorder can already be difficult enough, and everyone deserves to have support when they need it.

Free online counseling sessions are conducted via phone, audio, chat, video, and SMS messaging (on most platforms). Some online therapy platforms offer free unlimited counseling sessions via SMS messaging, which is also called texting therapy. Messaging therapy is one of the most popular forms of online therapy as people can chat with and leave messages for their online support person to read and respond to in real time.

Online counseling options provide people with an inside look at what more in-depth counseling or therapy services have to offer. Free services act as a stepping stone and offer an introduction to the world of online therapy for people who are unsure about taking part in therapy online. As more people become aware of the importance of mental health, more services are becoming available, including telehealth-based services.

Who Seeks Counseling Online?

People from all backgrounds may seek out counseling online. Online therapy might be a viable option to consider for:

  • Individuals– A person may seek online counseling for mental health disorders like depression or anxiety when they are having a negative effect on their daily lives. Or they may want therapy for a personal issue that they’re unable to resolve or cope with on their own.

  • Couples In Crisis–Couples who have been having relationship issues that may be leading to separation or divorce often seek online counseling. Here, they can get advice and learn new communication skills with the hopes of saving or improving their intimate relationship.

  • Families– Relationships with family can be confusing, complex, or overwhelming at times. When families in crisis find they have issues they can't resolve on their own, they may seek online counseling options as a way to resolve their problems. 

  • Adolescents And Teens– Today's teens and adolescents are also logging on to take part in free counseling. Many online platforms are dedicated to providing online services and support to those who are facing challenges as they grow into healthy adults. Since many kids and teens are already online frequently, online counseling can be a viable option to keep their minds healthy.

  • Dating And Intimate Relationships– Singles and couples may turn to free online counseling services to get support along their dating and relationship journey. Today's online counseling platforms provide dating advice, resources, and relationship therapy for couples in all dating communities, including the LGBTQ

People are now able to log on from the comfort of their homes to get real answers to the deep questions and concerns they have. Now more than ever, getting mental health care is more convenient, affordable, and easy.

Benefits Of Online Counseling

Online counseling services open up the world of therapy, self-help, healing, and exploration to people who normally wouldn't have had the opportunity to participate. Let's look at some of the reasons why people are choosing online therapy over traditional therapy, starting with comfort and personal preferences.

  • Comfort And Privacy– One of the most powerful draws of online counseling services for many people is the comfort it offers. Individuals, couples, and families can now log on as a group or individually to attend therapy sessions with mental health providers, including family therapists and counselors.

  • No Commute– Visiting a counselor or therapist online eliminates long commutes to get to in-office therapy appointments. 

  • Flexible Scheduling– Taking part in therapy sessions online in an always-on environment provides a wide variety of scheduling options for those who attend. They can schedule therapy sessions at their convenience at any time of the day or night.

  • Affordable Therapy Options– Getting started with online therapy is affordable and easy. In some cases, behavioral health insurance benefits from major health providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield may provide reimbursement options for online sessions with licensed and certified therapists. While some services are completely free, others cost very little and tend to be more affordable than in-person services.

  • Ease-Of-Use– Using online therapy platforms is as simple as having an internet connection and a compatible device. Online therapy platforms support devices that people normally already own, like desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. No special equipment is required to get started. Therapy platforms walk people through step-by-step and most people complete the registration process in just a few minutes.

Online Therapy Can Provide You With Convenient, Affordable Care

Online Therapy With BetterHelp

If you're ready to get started with online therapy with a licensed mental health professional, consider signing up for BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a virtual counseling platform that provides assistance for a variety of concerns. You won’t need to worry about driving to a therapist’s office to meet or moving around your schedule to fit therapy in. Instead, you can connect from the comfort of your home and schedule sessions according to your availability. Online therapy makes mental health care easier, more convenient, and more affordable as well.

The Efficacy Of Online Therapy

If you’ve never tried online therapy before, it’s natural to wonder about its effectiveness. One study showed that online therapy can be just as good, if not more effective, than traditional face-to-face therapy. Ninety-six percent of people using online therapy reported feeling a personal connection with their online therapists as opposed to ninety-one percent who saw face-to-face therapists. They were also more invested in completing the homework their therapists assigned them, leading them to move forward more effectively with their lives.

Read below for some reviews from people who have benefitted from online therapy at BetterHelp.

Counselor Reviews

“Tiffany has really helped me so much. I was skeptical about doing an online counseling service, but she has made it feel very personal. It takes a few weeks to create a relationship, but I am extremely pleased. The guidance she provides me with helps me get through my week to week, and she is diligent about checking in with me each week. She makes me feel like I am a priority, and I appreciate that. I recommend her a thousand times over.” 

“I was very apprehensive at using an online councillor at first as I knew I needed help but I didn’t know where to start. But because Caroline is so friendly she made it seem easy, almost as if I was talking to an old friend. She’s makes me feel as if my feelings are valid and for a personal like me this did a massive deal.” 

The Takeaway

Free online counseling services can be an effective tool for healing from mental health conditions or getting advice for personal situations. There are many different options to consider, each with its own unique benefits. Choosing to reach out for help when you need it is a powerful step toward healing, no matter which resource you use.

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