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 support@brightside.com.

How It Works

Medication

Medication with Brightside is currently available in the following states:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

 

Therapy

Therapy with Brightside is currently available in the following states: 

California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

 

Stay tuned – we plan to offer our services in additional states soon!

 

 

Medication

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
  • Bipolar Disorder or any symptoms of mania
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating disorder with high-risk symptoms
  • Kidney or liver disease, seizures, or long QT

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

 

Therapy

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
  • Bipolar Disorder or any symptoms of mania
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating disorder with high-risk symptoms

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.

 

We believe (and evidence shows) that comprehensive care using multiple approaches leads to the best outcomes with depression.

There are three primary treatment approaches for depression: self care, therapy, and medication. We offer each of these approaches as part of our comprehensive care plans.

 

Self care / lifestyle

All Brightside members get self care tools and resources for free. Brightside Skill Kit and content can help build skills and resilience, delivering improvements that complement therapy and medication.

Therapy

Brightside offers convenient, affordable, and private therapy via messaging (and video coming soon) with a licensed therapist as you complete evidence-based audio sessions that equip you with the skills you need to feel better. 

Medication

Brightside providers can complete a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and personalized treatment plan, which may include antidepressant medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, and similar). We’ll deliver medication to your door monthly and help the doctor monitor your care, providing guidance and adjusting treatment as necessary so you get the best outcomes.

 

There’s no guarantee that our doctors will write you a prescription. After evaluating your information, our doctors only prescribe if they are confident that they will be safe, effective, and appropriate for you.

 

Brightside physicians do not prescribe any controlled substances.

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

 

Here’s how Medication works:

 

  1. Take the assessment: Answer questions about yourself to provide the information your doctor will need to thoroughly evaluate your situation.
  2. Connect with a doctor: Get matched with an expert doctor 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 doctor chooses to prescribe, your medication will be delivered to your door (approximately 4-5 business days after your consultation*) and refills authorized by your physician will arrive monthly. 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 doctor to monitor your progress and make any necessary changes to your care plan, so you can get the best results.

*IMPORTANT UPDATE: USPS is currently experiencing delays during COVID-19. Your initial prescription may now take up 7-10 days to deliver but any refills should continue to arrive on time. We also know that packages sometimes can be delayed, go missing, or get stolen. If you ever experience delays with receiving a shipment, we always have the option to work with the delivering pharmacy to process a replacement for $15 per medication or call in a partial fill to your local pharmacy for pick up. Send us an email at support@brightside.com so we can assist you.

 

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: Get unlimited messaging with an expert, licensed therapist who provides supportive 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. Your therapist will help guide you through your personalized program so you see the best results.

 

 

Brightside’s provider network includes physicians and therapists who are graduates of prominent US medical schools, have several years of experience, and have current licenses to practice in your state. They follow the same high clinical standards as in person care.

Brightside’s clinical advisory board consists of industry experts from top institutions like Stanford, UCSF, and Yale and oversees our clinical policies and operations.

If you are licensed provider interested in joining the Brightside provider network, please send your CV to: info@brightside.com.

Depression and anxiety are diagnosed by comparing the symptoms that someone is experiencing to known attributes of these conditions, using criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association. There are no physical symptoms or blood tests that need to be checked that indicate the presence of depression – instead, diagnosis and treatment relies on a doctor’s judgment.

Because of this, you don’t necessarily need to be together in person with a doctor to effectively diagnose and treat depression and anxiety. Doctors can review your symptoms, health history, and other considerations remotely, then verify their diagnosis and discuss treatment options in a conversation with you.

Delivering care online can offer the opportunity for closer monitoring and communication of treatment and progress over time. This is particularly relevant for antidepressant medication, as it’s common for your doctor to need to refine your dose and medication based on your individual response. 

Remote care isn’t a good fit for everyone. If you would like a physical exam or blood test prior to treatment or are more comfortable seeing a doctor face to face, you should follow that path. People with certain conditions are not a good fit for remote care for depression: If you’re pregnant; if you have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia; if you’ve previously attempted suicide or are actively contemplating suicide; or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, seizures, or long QT syndrome, it’s better for you to see a doctor in person to manage your care.

Medication

Brightside Medication Plan costs $95 per month + your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. Your plan includes a comprehensive remote physician evaluation, your medication delivered to your door monthly, and ongoing physician support and monitoring of your care, including any necessary adjustments.

Brightside Medication + Therapy, costs $240 per month ($20 off) plus your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. In addition to the benefits of the Medication Plan, you get unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist who helps guide you through a personalized program using evidence-based approaches.  

Medical insurance for physicians services is not currently accepted. If you have questions about using your medical insurance benefits, email support@brightside.com.

 

Therapy

Therapy costs $165 per month for unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist who helps guide you through a personalized program using evidence-based approaches. 

Brightside Medication + Therapy: If you would like to add Medication to your plan, it costs $240 per month ($20 off discounted from $260 per month) plus your pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. In addition to the benefits of Brightside Therapy, this includes a comprehensive physician evaluation, your medication delivered to your door monthly, and ongoing physician support and monitoring of your care, including any necessary adjustments.

 

Depression is a complicated. 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.

You can use this information to track your progress over time. We’ll also use your responses to help your doctor monitor your care and make any necessary adjustments so you get the best outcome.

Depression is a sensitive topic – we follow industry best practices to keep your information private. We encrypt all data using 256 bit SSL security and are HIPAA compliant. 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.

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

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 & Treatments

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

Maybe you feel like now’s not the right time to start treatment. While it’s tempting to put it off, it’s important not to wait. Delaying treatment will only make it harder to have a good outcome down the line and can lead to physical changes to your brain and even an increased risk of heart disease. In most cases, depression won’t fade away on its own and the longer you wait, the harder it is to get better.

Comprehensive approaches to care, which combine multiple treatment approaches like self care, therapy, and medication, often have the best outcomes because they can help address multiple underlying causes and symptoms of depression.

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

New approaches suggest that using data may help target the right treatments to the right patients based on symptom clusters and personal characteristics, delivering better outcomes.

Research shows that certain nutritional supplements, when taking together with antidepressants, can also enhance the effect of antidepressants.

Adding additional treatments, such as therapy and lifestyle improvement, to medication as part of a comprehensive care plan commonly leads to the best outcomes.

To get the best results with medication, it’s important to consistently measure progress during treatment – this is known as Measurement Based Care. This allows you and your doctor to make informed decisions for any necessary adjustment in your treatment. It’s common to adjust dose and/or medication when starting antidepressants to minimize side effects and maximize benefit.

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.

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 and/or can be effectively managed.

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

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.

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.

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 self-paced app. CBT can be a stand-alone treatment or a complement to another treatment approach, such as antidepressant medication. Brightside’s Skill Kit is developed using the principles of CBT is available for free to every member.

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.
  • 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. Certain supplements may also be effective in helping to manage the symptoms of depression, including Methylfolate, Omega 3, and Vitamin D.
  • Get enough sleep: experts recommend 7-9 hours per night on a consistent schedule
  • 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.

Account & Orders

Medication

To reschedule your appointment, login to your  Brightside Portal. Using the “Reschedule” button, select a new time to meet with your doctor.

To help respect your doctor’s time and support availability to other Brightside members seeking care, we ask that if you need to reschedule your appointment, you do so at least 24-hours in  advance.

 

Therapy

Video appointments with your Brightside Therapist are not yet available.

Medication

Please send any requests for a refund to support@brightside.com. Please note we do not issue any refunds after your initial scheduled consultation with your provider has passed. Please note that Brightside providers take time to review your information and begin preparing a plan of care prior to your initial scheduled video consultation.  

Your Medication subscription fee is billed monthly on the same day each month and you can cancel your plan at any time from Settings in your Portal.

 

Therapy

Please send any requests for a refund to support@brightside.com.  Please note that Therapy subscription payments are non-refundable. Your Therapy subscription fee is billed monthly on the same day each month and you can cancel your plan at any time from Settings in your Portal.

Medication

In order to receive medication as part of your care plan, you need to complete a video visit with your provider so that he or she can conduct a full evaluation. It’s also possible that your provider will want to talk to you from time to time during your treatment. If it would make you more comfortable, your provider is glad to turn their camera off during the conversation.

 

Therapy

Video appointments with your Brightside Therapist are not yet available.

Medication

To connect with your doctor for your initial video consulation:

Step 1: Download the Zoom application on the device you plan to use for your video appointment.

Step 2: When you are  ready to join the appointment, log in to your Brightside Portal and click “Join Appointment” — this option will appear on the day of your consultation and will take you directly to your Brightside physician’s consultation room. You also have the option to click on the “Join Appointment” link in the email or text message sent to you 30 minutes prior to the start of the consultation.

Step 3: Once you are in your physician’s Zoom room, you will want to make sure your video and microphone options are active and working on your device. These options can be found on the lower panel of the Zoom window.

To connect with your Brightside doctor after your initial consultation, you can “Request a Review” from your Brightside Portal if you have clinical questions about your treatment. If your doctor thinks a video appointment is needed based on the reason for your review, he/she may send you a request to book a video appointment with them.

You can also send your doctor a message directly at any time. Messages should be used for quick updates or providing clarifying information about your treatment progress. Your doctor will not be able to make adjustments to your treatment through messaging alone and will require a formal request for a review be completed. Brightside physicians will typically respond to your message within 72 hours on weekdays.

 

Therapy

You can message your Brightside therapist at any time. Your therapist will message you back within 24-48 hours on weekdays.

Video appointments with your Brightside Therapist are not yet available.

 

If you have an active subscription are having trouble getting a hold of your provider, please contact support@brightside.com.

 

Your care is important to us. Brightside’s messaging tool is not intended to nor does it support emergency or urgent clinical situations. 

If you are having an emergency, call 911 or visit your local emergency room.

If you are considering hurting yourself, you can connect with a counselor immediately by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting HOME to 741741.

 

All Brightside network providers adhere to the highest clinical standards, have several years of experience, and are licensed to practice in the member’s state of residence (see “Who are the providers” above). Members are matched with providers based on criteria including state licensure and schedule availability.

If for some reason you would like to change your provider, please contact: support@brightside.com to see if this option is available.

If you missed your first appointment with your provider, please contact us at: support@brightside.com. Your provider will send you another booking request so that you can schedule an appointment at a future date based on available bookings.

We understand that things come up, so if you are not confident that you will be able to make your scheduled appointment, you can always reschedule in advance from your Brightside Portal. We ask that you please reschedule your appointment at least 24 hours in advance of the start of your appointment should you need to cancel to respect your physician’s time and schedule.

Please note that failing to attend your next scheduled consultation may result in a potential reassignment of your care or discharge from Brightside, as well as charging a no-show fee.

It’s our goal to help make sure you get connected to the care that you need so there is anything that we can do to help, please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

 

Brightside providers make their best efforts to stay on time and meet with each member during his/her scheduled appointment time; however, things may come up that cause your provider to miss your scheduled appointment. We hope that this never happens, but if it does please contact us at support@brightside.com so that we can get you scheduled for the next appointment time available.

Your Brightside physician may take 24-48 hours to finalize your care plan from the time of your initial consultation. Any prescriptions are typically delivered between 4-5 business days from the time your doctor finalizes your plan*. You can login at any time to view your medication card on your Dashboard. This includes the medication you’ve been prescribed, instructions from your doctor, and the status of your refills.

 

*IMPORTANT UPDATE: USPS is currently experiencing delays during COVID-19. Your initial prescription may now take up 7-10 days to deliver but any refills should continue to arrive on time. We also know that packages sometimes can be delayed, go missing, or get stolen. If you ever experience delays with receiving a shipment, we always have the option to work with the delivering pharmacy to process a replacement for $15 per medication or call in a partial fill to your local pharmacy for pick up. Send us an email at support@brightside.com so we can assist you. 

You can find treatment information, including your provider’s medication instructions, on your medication card in your Dashboard. If you are concerned that your treatment is off track, you can click on “Request a Review” on the medication card and your provider will follow up with you.

If you forgot your password, please go to the login page and select “Forgot your password?” This will email you a link to update your password.

You can also access Settings from your Dashboard and make changes there.

If you have any other issues, contact support@brightside.com.

Medication

If you’d like to cancel your Medication subscription, login to your Brightside Portal and select “Settings” from the menu bar. From there you can view your active subscription and choose “Cancel Plan”. 

Depression care isn’t a quick fix, but treatment does work if you stick with it.

In the best case, your treatment should last 9-12 months and for many people it may take longer.

83% of Brightside members feel better within 12 weeks and many more achieve benefit over a longer period. It’s not uncommon to take some time to find the right treatment and get the full benefit.

It’s important to complete at least 6 months of maintenance even after you start to feel better. Skipping the maintenance phase more than doubles the likelihood that your depression will come back in the next 6 months.

Your doctor recommends that you stick with your treatment until you decide together that you’re ready to be done. If you  cancel your plan, your doctor will not be able to authorize refills of your medication because they will be unable to track your treatment progress.  Before cancelling, we recommend that you message your doctor or request a review to plan the right path for you. 

 

Therapy

If you’d like to cancel your Therapy subscription, please email us at support@brightside.com

Before you cancel, you might consider reaching out to your Brightside Therapist. Chances are they will be very open to hearing you out and adapting their approach to make treatment work for your needs and preferences. If you’ve already voiced your concerns to your therapist and are sure you want to cancel, it’s important to have a ‘termination’ chat before doing so. This is when you let your therapist know that you’ll be cancelling your therapy plan (don’t worry; your therapist won’t be offended.) That way, your therapist can help you form a plan to maintain gains you’ve made for therapy and find ways to connect with other resources.

741-741

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

911

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