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

Brightside is currently available in:

California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois.

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

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
  • Schizophrenia or any symptoms of psychosis
  • Bipolar Disorder or any symptoms of mania
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Pregnant or nursing
  • 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.

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
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
We’ll connect you with a Brightside partner offering convenient, affordable, and private counseling by video and chat with a licensed therapist.

Medication
Brightside providers can evaluate your information and may choose to prescribe antidepressant medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, and similar). We’ll deliver them to your door monthly and help the doctor oversee 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 it works:

  1. Take the assessment: Tell us what you’re experiencing, and we’ll help you understand what it means.
  2. We’ll create a plan: Together, we’ll come up with a treatment plan tailored to you and your needs.
  3. Begin your treatment: We’ll deliver medication to your doorstep and self-care exercises to your inbox.
  4. Monitor your progress: We’ll check in along the way, make changes as needed, and keep you on track.

If you choose to consider medication as part of your care plan, here’s how it works:

  1. Answer questions about yourself to provide the information your doctor will need to thoroughly evaluate your situation
  2. Schedule a time to talk with the doctor by video call. These conversations normally last about 10 minutes to review your situation, discuss your care plan, and answer any questions
  3. If the doctor chooses to prescribe, your medication will be delivered to your door (approximately 1-4 days after prescription) and refills will arrive monthly
  4. We’ll ask you to tell us about your symptoms and side effects weekly, allowing the doctor to monitor your symptoms and progress and make any necessary changes to your care plan

If you choose to pursue therapy, we’ll connect you with a Brightside partner offering convenient, affordable, and private counseling by video and chat with a licensed therapist.

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.

Brightside’s provider network includes doctors and nurse practitioners 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 the VA 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 is diagnosed by comparing the symptoms that someone is experiencing to known attributes of depression, 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. 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 or nursing; 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.

Brightside membership is free – you get a clinically proven assessment, self care tools like the Brightside Skill Kit, and ongoing symptom measurement to track your progress.

If you’d like to add medication to your care plan, it costs just $95 per month for a comprehensive remote physician evaluation, your medication delivered to your door, and ongoing doctor monitoring of your care, including any necessary adjustments.

If you’d like therapy, Betterhelp rates apply. Please visit betterhelp.com to learn more.

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

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.

Your Brightside provider is here to support you in your pathway to getting better. The first visit with your provider will help him/her obtain additional information and answer any questions you may have. The visit typically takes about 10 minutes but may be shorter or longer. Please note that this visit is not meant to serve as a therapy session with your provider. If you would like to pursue therapy, Brightside partners with Betterhelp to offer convenient, affordable, and private counseling by video and chat with a licensed therapist. Additionally, you have free access to Skill Kit,Brightside’s self paced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program. You can access both of these resources by visiting your Brightside dashboard.

To help ensure a successful first visit, please follow the instructions in your Brightside dashboard including downloading Zoom prior to your appointment time. We also recommend that you schedule your visit during a time you have access to strong WiFi and are able to limit noise and other distractions.

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 need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please use the “Reschedule” button in the Timekit booking email confirmation sent to you at least 24 hours in advance of the start of your appointment. If you cannot locate this email, please contact us at: support@brightside.com.

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 know schedules can get busy and things come up so 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.

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.

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.

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.

If you’d like to cancel your subscription, you can do so from your settings or by sending a message to support@brightside.com.

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.