If the uncertainty and chaos of recent times have saddled you with feelings of isolation, anxiety, and helplessness, you’re far from alone. According to the CDC, symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder spiked in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a whopping 40% of American adults reporting mental health or substance use issues. And over half of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point during their lifetimes.
What is the solution for healing ourselves and restoring our mental health while also facing frequent quarantines, virtual schooling, and, for many, job loss and financial uncertainty? Teletherapy may be the answer.
While teletherapy services have existed for years, our current circumstances have thrust this market directly to the top of the telehealth industry. Cerebral is the new kid on the block in this growing market, offering subscription plans for comprehensive online therapy, prescriptions, and free medication delivery. How does Cerebral stand up to the competition? We’ve tested the service and will break down all you need to know to decide if Cerebral might be your solution.
- High-quality mental healthcare with ease and convenience
- Month-to-month subscriptions make canceling easy
- More cost-effective than traditional therapy
- Subscription includes free prescription delivery
- Text access to your Care Counselor at any time
- Suitable for anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Unsuitable for suicidal ideation, schizophrenia, and substance abuse
- Only available in the U.S.
- Not all services are available in every state
Mental health is exceedingly vital to our overall wellbeing, which is why we admire and recommend Cerebral for its integrated approach to treating issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Cerebral makes mental health treatment accessible by covering counseling, medical prescriptions, and deliveries in one bundle without you ever needing to leave the house. And surprisingly, it all comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy. Cerebral may just be the model for the future of mental healthcare. We highly recommend its services if you are looking for a path out of the darkness.
Cerebral gives you a very convenient and reasonably priced way to access mental health care online, including prescription care.
With three subscription options, you can access therapy (in certain states) and get medications prescribed and shipped to you. If you live in one of the 18 states where Cerebral provides therapy, the company provides truly comprehensive service.
Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, this review of Cerebral, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Cerebral is a digital mental health subscription platform that combines virtual counseling, medication management, and pharmaceutical delivery into one monthly bundle.
Kyle Robertson’s personal experiences with debilitating anxiety and depression led him to cofound Cerebral in January of 2020 alongside Dr. Ho Anh. Robertson’s own internalized stigma about seeking help hampered his road to recovery, as did the challenge of getting into a psychiatrist’s office. It can take weeks to months to book an initial consultation, and the fee can be as much as $500.
As a child of two mental health clinicians, Robertson wondered: If it was this difficult for him to seek care, how much more difficult must it be for others? In founding Cerebral, he and Anh dedicated themselves to bridging the gaps in mental health treatment and making it more accessible to everyone.
Cerebral’s telemedical services encourage people to jump onboard the telehealth revolution and take charge of their emotional wellbeing.
Cerebral works as a subscription service offering three tiers of plans that provide clinical care, traditional therapy, and behavioral support. Your monthly bill covers online access to and video calls with mental health professionals, behavioral health support, free medication delivery (if prescribed), and more. Medications are billed separately and eligible for insurance coverage. Cerebral markets its services to those suffering from symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep issues.
A collaborative care model is a healthcare philosophy that revolves around patient-centered and team-delivered care. It involves healthcare providers from different disciplines coming together to provide an integrated treatment plan.
In Cerebral’s collaborative care platform, a medical provider takes care of the clinical side and prescribes medication as needed. Meanwhile, a Care Counselor offers emotional support and tracks the patient’s progress. Care Counselors use a combination of therapies to support patients, including talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and mindfulness.
Care Counselors are mental health professionals — usually nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychologists. Some, but not all, Cerebral Care Counselors are licensed therapists. They work directly with the provider to manage a patient’s treatment regime. As such, they are sometimes called “Care Managers.”
The digital nature of Cerebral means users can track their progress using data-driven monitoring. Regular check-ins utilize standard clinical measurements of depression and anxiety symptoms, allowing both the user and the care team to assess whether the patient is improving with treatment.
In our testing and analysis, we’re impressed that Cerebral is confident enough in its service that it will let you try the first month of its plans at a sharp discount. This greatly reduces your risk in trying Cerebral for yourself. The prices below include the full extent of services excluding the cost of medication (if prescribed). Medications are billed separately, which potentially means your health insurance could cover the cost of the medication. Shipping is free with these plans.
Medication & Care Counseling Plan
The Medication & Care Counseling Plan costs $85 per month, although you’ll often find limited promotions on the website. Currently, Cerebral offers new users their first month for only $30. This cost covers ongoing video or phone calls with your provider, unlimited messaging with your Care Counselor, and monthly video or phone check-ins. It also covers shipping fees for any medications that you may be prescribed.
Cerebral’s Therapy Plan costs $259 per month. This subscription service gives users access to weekly sessions with a licensed therapist but does NOT involve a medical provider or prescriptions. You can get your first month of Cerebral’s Therapy Plan for $99.
Note that while Cerebral is expanding its reach quickly, the Therapy Plan and the Medication & Therapy Plan are not available in all states. Cerebral has prescribing partners in all states nationwide but currently features licensed therapists capable of assistance in the following 15 states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
Medication & Therapy Plan
The Medication & Therapy Plan costs $339 per month. This “all-inclusive” subscription package includes everything in the “Medication & Care Counseling” service but adds weekly sessions with a licensed therapist instead of monthly visits with a Care Counselor. Cerebral currently offers your first month for only $139.
Studies have shown that combined psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatment is superior for major depression, anxiety, and several other issues.
Note the list above for states that offer licensed therapy.
Getting started on Cerebral’s website is simple and straightforward:
Click “Get Started.” You will first fill out a short online form that represents a kind of emotional assessment. This form asks basic questions about your recent behavior and how symptoms of depression, anxiety, or insomnia may be affecting your daily life. Upon completing the questionnaire, Cerebral will assess your condition and whether you may benefit from its services.
Choose your plan. Cerebral’s plans offer therapy, medication, or both. If you change your mind later on what service you would like, adjustments are easy to manage under “Account Settings.”
Checkout. Cerebral accepts all major credit cards and debit cards connected to HSA/FSA.
Set an appointment for your initial consultation. If you subscribed to the Medication & Care Counseling Plan or the Medication & Therapy Plan, your medical provider will be the first among your medical team to assess you. This meeting occurs via phone or video call, where you will discuss your symptoms and develop a treatment plan. If your provider prescribes medications, Cerebral will automatically deliver them to your door.
Meet with your Care Counselor or therapist. This meeting also takes place via video or phone. Your weekly therapist or monthly Care Counselor will support you throughout your treatment, liaise with your medical prescriber, and provide counseling, therapy, and methods to cope with your symptoms.
Continue treatment. As part of your treatment, you will get your medication delivered to you monthly, if prescribed. For some controlled substances, you may have to visit your local pharmacy to collect your prescription. You will also have monthly chats with your Care Counselor to monitor your progression and learn coping skills. You can also check in with your provider to catch up and ensure everything is going to plan and discuss any adverse effects you might be experiencing.
Cerebral’s plans are HSA and FSA eligible.
Cerebral is “in-network” for certain Cigna health insurance plans in California. If you have one of these plans, your cost for any of Cerebral’s three plans is only $29 per month. Meanwhile, other insurance plans across the United States might cover the cost of medication you are prescribed.
Cerebral’s out-of-network reimbursement process is smooth as well. If you let Cerebral know your insurance details, the company will submit your claims. At that point, if they’re eligible, Cerebral automatically mails you a reimbursement check. You can also speak with your Care Counselor for advice on this process.
Cerebral takes privacy very seriously. All your personal information is encrypted and stored according to strict security protocols. State and federal laws protect information regarding your medical profile, counseling assessments, and prescriptions. Cerebral may collect non-personal information about users on its site through cookies and other tracking technologies. The company uses this information to improve its websites or apps and to improve personalized service.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For Cerebral and other health services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?