Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we hear most often. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for, you can always email us at info@brightside.com


How it works

Where is Brightside available?

Brightside is currently available in California. Stay tuned - we plan to offer our services in additional states soon.

Who is Brightside for?

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.

Some conditions are not a good fit for Brightside and should be seen by a doctor in person. These include:

Mental illnesses with different treatment approaches

  • Schizophrenia or any symptoms of psychosis
  • Bipolar Disorder or any symptoms of mania

High-risk behaviors

  • Active substance abuse
  • Previous suicide attempt

Conditions that make using antidepressants more complicated

  • Pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant
  • Kidney or liver disease

How does Brightside work?

  1. You’ll answer some questions about yourself and what you're experiencing
  2. We'll evaluate your information and recommend the evidence-based treatment that is most likely to benefit you. This may include antidepressants, talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and supplements/lifestyle change.
  3. A physician licensed in your state will review your information and write you a prescription if safe and medically appropriate. We'll send it directly to the pharmacy of your choice.
  4. You'll pay a one-time visit fee of $20 with insurance or $40 without it.
  5. We’ll check in with you weekly to monitor your symptoms and ensure that your medication is working for you. If you're not improving after a few weeks, our physicians will review your case and modify your prescription as appropriate.

What treatments are available?

Brightside can help you evaluate and follow through with multiple ways to treat your depression, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Brightside affiliated physicians may choose to prescribe modern antidepressants known as SSRIs, SNRIs, and similar medications. These medications have been used safely and effectively in millions of people and are all generic and affordable. Brightside physicians do not prescribe any controlled substances (e.g. Xanax).

There’s no guarantee that our doctors will write you a prescription. After evaluating your information, our doctors only write prescriptions for antidepressants if they are confident that they will be safe and effective for you. If they need more information to support their decision, they may call you to speak to you directly.

If your treatment plan includes therapy, digital CBT, or lifestyle changes, Brightside will connect you with a range of companies that provide high quality services.

How do you determine which treatments are right for me?

During the intake process, we’ll ask you about what you’re experiencing, key details of your health and family history, and certain preferences. We’ll use this information and our proprietary knowledge base to determine which evidence-based treatment is most likely to help you.

Determining which treatment approach to move forward with is entirely up to you.

Who are the doctors?

Brightside doctors are graduates of top medical schools with extensive experience. The doctor who provides your care will be licensed to practice in the state where you are located.

There’s no guarantee that our doctors will write you a prescription. After evaluating your information, our doctors only write prescriptions for antidepressants if they are confident that they will be safe and effective for you. If they need more information to support their decision, they may call you to speak to you directly.

Which pharmacies can I use?

You can pick up your prescription at your local pharmacy. We’ll just need the pharmacy name, address, and phone number.

How much does it cost?

Brightside charges a $20 visit fee if you have insurance or $40 if you do not.

This does not include the cost of medication, which is paid separately. On average, the most antidepressant medications are generic and cost less than $20 per month.

Why do you need to monitor my symptoms?

Depression is a complicated condition and there are a range of treatments that may help. In order to make sure that you are on the right treatment for you and making progress, we will ask you to do periodic check-ins with us to tell us how you’re doing.

We’ll use this information to monitor your progression and allow the doctor to review your case at appropriate intervals.

Is it private?

We know that depression is a sensitive issue, so we follow industry best practices for information security and we keep all of your information private - only your prescribing physician will have access to your information.*

*If we ever have reason to believe you intend to hurt yourself or others, we may need to share information in line with established safety protocols.

How can I get help if I’m in crisis?

Your safety is so important to us. If you are in emotional distress or thinking about hurting yourself at any point, please make use of these resources:

  1. Visit: If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency department.
  2. Text: The Crisis Text Line provides 24 hour free and confidential help. Text 'HOME' to 741-741 to connect with a counselor immediately.
  3. Call: You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK to talk with a live counselor 24 hours per day. We'll send it directly to the pharmacy of your choice.
  4. There is always help available. We recommend also reaching out to a family member or friend to let them know that you are having these thoughts and ask for help and support.

Depression and Depression Treatments

Is depression treatable?

YES! Depression is highly treatable and it is estimated that 80% of people who engage in treatment get better.

How effective are antidepressants?

Studies have shown that antidepressants are effective at relieving symptoms of depression about 40-60% of the time. [ source ]

New approaches suggest that this rate may be further increased if doctors are able to prescribe the right antidepressant for each patient based on unique personal characteristics.

Are there differences between antidepressants?

A number of study findings have lead to conclusions that there are not significant differences in effectiveness across different antidepressants.

But, more recent findings have demonstrated that these study designs may have been masking different effects in sub-groups of people. A team from Yale University were able to double the accuracy of predicting a patient’s response to a given treatment using data and a technique called machine learning. They also found clusters of depression symptoms that were associated with different levels of response to medications.

Each antidepressant medication has different effects and side effects. Matching each patient to the treatment most likely to deliver the best outcomes holds the potential to deliver better results than those seen in traditional study design.

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What are the risks of antidepressants?

Antidepressants can have rare but serious side effects. It’s important to understand these risks before taking antidepressants and to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects while taking antidepressants.

The FDA has issued a black box warning for SSRIs and similar medications. These medications may increase suicidal thoughts or behavior, particularly in people age 24 or younger. Watch out for worsening of mood, behavior, or suicidal thoughts, especially during the first few months of treatment. Seek help right away if you experience any of these changes. If you are ever in crisis, dial 911 or visit your nearest emergency department. You can also text 'HOME' 741-741 to connect immediately with a free and confidential counselor.

Serotonin Syndrome is a rare but life threatening condition where there is too much serotonin active in the brain. Symptoms include fast heart rate, sweating, muscle stiffness or spasms, fever, and confusion. Do not take MAOIs, TCAs, St. John’s Wort, amphetamines, sumatriptan, or linezolid with SSRIs. See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms while taking your medication.

The risk of gastrointestinal bleeding may be increased when SSRIs are combined with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and celecoxib (Celebrex).

Depressive symptoms can occasionally be the first manifestation of the up and down cycle between depression and mania in bipolar disorder. If you experience symptoms of mania, such as feeling so good or so hyper that people think you are not acting your normal self, that you don’t need to sleep very much, or that thoughts race through your head and you can’t slow your mind down, you should talk to your doctor immediately.

SSRIs may be associated with increased risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding, consult your doctor about weighing the risks and benefits of taking antidepressants.

Some antidepressants may impair your ability to perform tasks requiring judgment or motor and cognitive skills. Exercise caution and refrain from dangerous activities, especially when starting your medication.

Hyponatremia (low levels of sodium in the blood) may occur as a result of treatment. Symptoms include mental changes, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, and seizures. See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms while taking your medication.

Taking SSRIs can cause mild pupillary dilation, which in susceptible individuals, can lead to an episode of angle closure glaucoma. Patients may wish to be examined to determine whether they are susceptible to angle closure, and have a prophylactic procedure (e.g., iridectomy), if they are susceptible.

What are common side effects of antidepressants?

Relatively common side effects of antidepressant medication include headache, nausea, insomnia, drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, weight gain, and issues with sexual arousal and performance. Often these side effects are temporary.

Is talk therapy effective for Depression?

Psychotherapy provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. Through dialogue, reflection, and techniques, you can identify and modify the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.

If you choose to do therapy as part of your treatment program, It’s important to find a therapist who uses evidence-based approaches and who you feel comfortable talking with.

Psychotherapy has shown to be effective at reducing symptoms of depression, but the true effect is difficult to quantify. [ source ] Most experts agree that the best results are likely in a multi-faceted approach that includes medication, therapy, and lifestyle change.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a research-backed therapy approach that focuses on improving negative habits in the way we think and act that translate to how we feel. It can be a very successful treatment approach for many people and is available through talk therapy as well as through a number of self-paced apps. CBT can be a stand-alone treatment or a complement to another treatment approach, such as antidepressant medication.

How can lifestyle affect Depression?

Spending time focusing on healthy lifestyle can be an extremely productive way to manage and improve symptoms of Depression. The same activities that make our bodies healthy play an important role in how we can feel emotionally. In order to make sure you are taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally, it's important to do the following:

  • Be physically active: Make sure you walk or do other exercise for at least 30 minutes per day - even a little bit can make a difference. Argus is a free app that allows you to easily track your physical activity
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eat fresh, whole foods and plenty of vegetables - avoid processed foods. Drink water and reduce sugar, especially by eliminating sugary beverages like soda and juice. MyFitnessPal offers a free food tracking app to help you ensure you're eating right
  • Get enough sleep: experts recommend 7-9 hours per night. Sleep Time is a free app that helps you monitor, understand, and improve your sleep patterns
  • Stop drinking alcohol: If you can avoid alcohol, you're likely to feel better physically and emotionally
  • Get social support: stay connected or reconnect with family and friends. Consider joining a group or club that interests you
  • Build resilience: Happify offers a free app to build resilience, gratitude, and positivity

Certain supplements may also be effective in helping to manage the symptoms of depression, including St. John’s Wort (not to be used together with antidepressants) and SAM-e.

Account and Orders

How can I view the status of my request?

You can login at any time to view your Dashboard, which includes the status of your request, your symptom results, and helpful resources.

How long does review take?

Review time may vary based on our volume of requests, but we strive to offer a 24-hour turnaround time on business days.

How do I reset my password?

If you forgot your password, please go to the login page and select “I forgot my password”. This will email you a link to update your password. If you have any other issues, contact info@brightside.com