Life-changing online care for major depressive disorder

Our providers understand the challenges of depression, and have real-world experience helping people just like you.

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Our Care

Expert care, tailored to you

Different people experience depression in different ways. That’s why our providers work 1:1 with you to personalize treatment to your unique needs.

Personalized Psychiatry

When medication is necessary, our psychiatric providers analyze 100+ data points to determine the most tolerable and effective prescription for you.

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Clinically-Proven Therapy

Our program combines cognitive and behavioral therapy with independent skill practice—all of which have been clinically proven to work for a wide range of symptoms.

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Mental Health condition

Understanding major depressive disorder

The two major symptoms of MDD are persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, and feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.

What is depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD), or depression, is one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide. According to a national survey, the 12-month and lifetime prevalences of depression were 10.4% and 20.6%, respectively. Additionally, MDD is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Depression is a serious mental illness that requires treatment. Two people don’t necessarily present the same way and there is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment. Depression is also associated with other mental health conditions, specifically generalized anxiety disorder.

Know that if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, help is available, and it may take some trial and error to find the treatment options that work best for you.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Worthlessness or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in energy levels, appetite, sleep patterns, concentration, and self-worth


Virtual, dedicated support every step of the way

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1:1 Video Sessions

Let your provider know how you’re feeling, get to know you, and provide 1:1 support.

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Anytime Messaging

Get questions or concerns off your chest between video visits by messaging your provider at any time.

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Interactive Lessons

Learn how to integrate new thought and behavior patterns into your daily life.

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Proactive Progress Tracking

Complete weekly check-ins so your provider can track your progress and, if necessary, adjust your treatment and/or medication.

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Our plan options

Affordable help, with or without insurance

Because quality mental health care shouldn’t be out of reach for anyone.



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or $95/month

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Pay with insurance
or $299/month

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+ Therapy

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or $349/month

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Free Assessment

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86% of our members feel better within 12 weeks.

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We accept insurance.iInsurance coverage varies by state. Get started to check your eligibility.

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What’s on your mind?

If your question isn’t answered below, view our full list of FAQs here.

Brightside is available to people 18 years and older in the states where Brightside operates who believe they may be experiencing depression and may benefit from treatment.

Remote care is not a good fit for people with certain conditions or situations. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Previous suicide attempt or active suicide planning
  • Ongoing, high risk self-harm behavior
  • Recent involuntary hospitalization for psychiatric reasons
  • Schizophrenia or any symptoms of psychosis
  • Certain severities of Bipolar Disorder and symptoms of mania
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating disorder with high-risk symptoms
  • Kidney or liver disease, seizures, or long QT (for Psychiatry plan only)

Our providers do not treat, and do not prescribe for adhd.

If any of these describe you, it’s best for you to be seen by a provider in person so you can get the care that’s right for you.

Brightside makes it easy to get top quality depression care from the privacy of home.

Here’s how Psychiatry works:

  1. Take the assessment: Answer questions about yourself to provide the information your provider will need to thoroughly evaluate your situation.
  2. Connect with a psychiatric provider: Get matched with an expert psychiatric provider for a comprehensive video consultation. Share how you’re feeling, then decide on the best next steps — together. These conversations normally last about 15 minutes to review your situation, discuss your care plan, and answer any questions you may have. 
  3. Follow your care plan: If the provider chooses to prescribe, your medication will be sent to your local pharmacy. Your plan also includes digital therapy, and self-care tools you can use at your own pace.
  4. Make progress: We’ll ask you to tell us about your symptoms and side effects weekly, allowing the provider to monitor your progress and make any necessary changes to your care plan, so you can get the best results.

Here’s how Therapy works:

  1. Take the assessment: Tell us what you’re experiencing, and we’ll help you understand what it means.
  2. Connect with a Therapist: Connect with an expert, licensed therapist by messaging and with access to one 45-minute video appointment included with your subscription each week. You will continue to have Unlimited messaging support and guidance to help you build skills and feel better.
  3. Complete sessions: Complete personalized, self-paced audio lessons and practice exercises, building the evidence-based skills and habits you need to overcome your depression and anxiety.
  4. Make Progress: Report back on what’s working well for you and where you want to go deeper with the option to purchase additional video sessions if you choose. Your therapist will help guide you through your personalized program so you see the best results.

When scheduling your first appointment, you can browse all of our available providers in your state. Take a look at their profiles and check open times to find the best fit for you. Every Brightside provider undergoes a rigorous hiring and vetting process to ensure the highest quality care.

Brightside currently accepts select insurance plans in various states for payment of your provider’s or therapist’s services. Please see below for a current listing of plans. Brightside may not be included in all plans that each health insurance company offers. Please contact your health insurance plan to verify that your care at Brightside will be covered.

We currently accept the following insurance plans:

  • Cigna (all states, except MN)
  • Aetna (nationwide)
  • Allegience (nationwide)
  • Anthem (CA only)
  • United Health (select states)

If you are a new member signing up for services you can enter your insurance information during the sign-up process. We’ll let you know your eligibility, as well as you estimated co-pays and out-of-pocket costs (if any) before signing-up or scheduling.

We also accept HSA/FSA payment if you have one of those accounts. If you have questions about using your medical or prescription insurance benefits, please contact us by emailing [email protected].

MDD is diagnosed after a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, and had five or more secondary symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.

MDD can be diagnosed by a doctor or medical professional. The medical professional’s evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and familial histories as well as cultural and environmental factors. In some cases, lab testing and blood work might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency.

The reason why some people experience depression during their lifetime and others don’t is complicated, but it can be explained by utilizing the Biopsychosocial Model of Depression. The Biopsychosocial Model of Depression states that certain people are more vulnerable to developing depression because of biomedical and genetic risk factors, psychological risk factors, and societal, environmental, and social risk factors.

Biomedical & genetic risk factors
Certain physical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, thyroid disease, and Parkinson’s disease can contribute to the onset of depression. Medications taken for these physical illnesses may also cause side effects that contribute to depression.

Further, some individuals have a genetic predisposition to developing depression. For example, if someone has a parent or sibling with major depression, that person has a two or three times greater risk of developing depression compared with someone who does not have depression in their immediate family members.

Psychological risk factors
Various aspects of how we automatically view the world, ourselves, and our relationships, may leave us to be vulnerable to developing depression. For example, a tendency to feel helpless when facing stressors in our life, having a natural tendency to ruminate about problems, having a negative perception of one’s self, the world, and the future, and having difficulty with relationships like feeling overly dependent on others, all can contribute to the development of depression. 

Societal, environmental, & social risk factors
As human beings, we live in a society with others. Exposure to certain stressful situations throughout the lifespan can contribute to one’s vulnerability to develop depression. For example, people who experienced child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and/or emotional abuse) are at a much higher risk for developing depression as an adult. Some recent research indicates that this group of people are twice as likely to develop depression as an adult than those who did not experience any child maltreatment. 

Living in poverty also makes people more vulnerable to depression. Those living in poverty are exposed to more violence and crime, and trauma, which all in turn also increase one’s risk for developing depression. 

Stressful life events can also make people more likely to develop depression. For example, experiencing a pandemic, as we are now, chronic stress, or single major life events that are threatening and/or impact one’s personal goals and vision of their future. These could be events like losing one’s job or going through a divorce. 

Protective factors
Certain personal characteristics, habits, and environments can help protect people at risk for depression from developing it. Some of these protective factors include: 

  • Social support
  • Supportive, loving family
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Self-compassion
  • Good health and healthy lifestyle

It’s normal to feel sad or have days when you feel down. However, when those days turn into longer periods of time, they may indicate that something more serious is going on.

Although the symptoms are similar, feeling sad is not the same thing as depression. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of depression for two weeks or more, talk to a doctor or mental health professional about your symptoms. Symptoms of depression may not improve on their own, so getting help early is key to feeling better, faster.

MDD can be treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. There are also a variety of alternative treatment options that can help ease symptoms, such as supplements, although some may not be regulated by the FDA.

Medication is an effective form of depression treatment for many people. Because there are many forms of depression and each individual is unique, getting the best result requires matching each individual to the right medication. Then, once a treatment plan has been established, your doctor can fine-tune further treatment based on your response to the medication.

Medications commonly prescribed as a first line of treatment for depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Common examples include Sertraline (Zoloft), Escitalopram (Lexapro) and Bupropion (Wellbutrin). There are other categories of medications that are used as well. Have a conversation with your doctor to figure out if medication is the right treatment option for you.

It typically takes at least two to six weeks of taking an antidepressant to see improvement. It may also take several trials to find the medication that works best. Once the right medication is found, dosage may be adjusted to optimize results.

We believe that everyone with depression should get specialized, expert care. This includes an experienced clinician taking the time to complete a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, using data and clinical decision support to make an informed prescribing decision (if medication is appropriate), and practicing measurement-based care to monitor progress and adjust treatment accordingly.

Brightside offers medication plans to treat MDD. Click here to learn more about our medication plan offerings.

Therapy may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression by allowing you to:

  • Understand how your thoughts and behaviors contribute to your symptoms and learn ways to change them.
  • Identify and understand how past or current events may have led to the development of unhelpful patterns of thought or behavior that can be maintaining your distress. 
  • Develop skills to cope with intense emotions that may be interfering with your ability to live life the way you want.
  • Develop healthy relationship and communication skills 
  • Increase confidence in your ability to handle challenging situations. 

Therapy can help you develop the skills you need to improve your depression. It can also be a helpful tool if depression is getting in the way of feeling your best and living the life you want.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into therapy, click here to get connected with our providers today.

Research has shown that depression is influenced by a number of processes inside the body, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and more. Because of this, certain supplements have been used to help alleviate symptoms in people with depression for decades. However, the frontline treatment of depression is medication and/or therapy.

Fish oil (high EPA)
Fish oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are key to certain brain functions and may help reduce inflammation associated with depression. There are two types of omega 3s in fish oil: EPA and DHA. Researchers found that EPA is the one that helps the most when it comes to depression.

Vitamin D
Our bodies produce vitamin D naturally with adequate exposure to the sun; however, studies have found that most people actually have insufficient levels, especially those living in northern latitudes with less sunlight exposure, and that people with low vitamin D levels are prone to higher rates of depression. There are vitamin D receptors in parts of the brain associated with depression and it may be involved in the creation of certain neurotransmitters.

L-Methylfolate (a specific type of folic acid)
Certain people have a genetic makeup that actually impairs their use of folic acid in cellular processes, which may be associated with depression. L-Methylfolate can help bridge this gap and keep the cellular processes moving. In fact, there is already an FDA-approved form of L-Methylfolate that doctors prescribe to patients who don’t initially respond to antidepressant treatment.

SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine)
SAM-e is a prescription drug in Europe but is available over the counter in the U.S. It’s a natural substance present in every cell in the body and brain that plays a role in numerous cellular processes. SAM-e is believed to work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, creating a similar effect to antidepressant medication.

If you are considering supplements to help combat depression, it’s important to talk to a doctor about what is right for you. Some nutritional supplements are not FDA regulated and tests have consistently shown variable quality and purity across manufacturers. 

Self-Care, Coping and Support
Many treatment plans for depression involve aspects of self-care. Getting regular exercise and good quality sleep can have a major effect on managing the symptoms of your depression. Practicing mindfulness, keeping a healthy and balanced diet, and connecting with loved ones or a support group are also highly impactful ways to aid in treating depression.


If you’re in emotional distress, text HOME to connect with a counselor immediately.


Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for 24/7 emotional support.


If you’re having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your local ER.