Disclaimer: The following is not intended to be medical advice and is presented for informational purposes only. Always consult with your own doctor about your own mental and physical health care. Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN.
Postpartum depression (PPD) was the last thing I expected five years ago when I became a mom, but after breaking down in the pediatrician’s office when my son was four months old, I realized I wasn’t doing so well.
With support, therapy, medication and time, I recovered and I’m much better about managing my mental health today.
I felt embarrassed about my condition at first, but then I learned postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s pretty common, affecting as many as 20 percent of new moms. When you’re a new mom with barely enough time to shower or feed yourself, tending to your mental health might fall to the bottom of your list, but it’s arguably one of the most important parts of parenting. In order to take care of a baby, you have to make sure you’re healthy too.
Thankfully, with increased public awareness of PPD, and advancements in telehealth and even text therapy, getting help is much easier than it used to be. Here’s a look at some online therapy options for postpartum depression and how to choose the best fit for you.
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“I felt embarrassed about my condition at first, but then I learned postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed about."
Online Therapy for Postpartum Depression: What is It?
Online therapy is exactly as it sounds — therapy you receive over the Internet without needing to physically be in a therapist’s office. You can receive online therapy via video chat, e-mail, text message or over the phone.
Online therapy allows you to connect with a mental health professional from home, which is especially crucial for parents who may not have childcare or be able to get themselves to a therapist’s office.
If you’re new to therapy, going to see a therapist can feel intimidating, and communicating over email or text message can help you open up in a way you may not be able to in person, at least not right away. While there are many benefits to online therapy, there are limitations as well.
For one, your therapist is not able to observe you in person, which is an important part of evaluating your mental health, and it may be more difficult to form a relationship with a therapist online. But, studies show online therapy can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.
And for a new parent who may not have the resources for in-person therapy—like childcare or even the energy to get there—online therapy is a great option for reaching out and receiving support.
“Studies show online therapy can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy."
How to Find the Best Online Therapy for You
Many therapists and other mental health professionals offer online therapy, or telehealth, as part of their services. There are two main ways to find an online therapist for you:
1) Through your insurance
The first step you can take is to go through your insurance provider. If you have insurance, you can ask your insurance provider for a list of therapists who are in network. Many insurances also offer a list on their website or app you can check as well. Then, you can check with the therapist to see if online therapy is an option. Again, many will list this upfront on their site as well, so you know right away if online therapy is available through them.
2) Through a freestanding therapy site or app
Online websites and apps devoted to mental health have also become increasingly popular in recent years. These services offer a range of different online therapy options at different price points. Some also do work with insurance as well, so always be sure to check before you pay.
5 Online Therapy Options
Because one of the cruel parts about having PPD is that actually having the energy or ability to find help when you need is can feel like an enormous challenge, here is a go-to list of places you can find therapy and support online, all at different price points (and some are even free!).
TalkSpace is one of the largest online therapy platforms available with a directory filled with thousands of licensed therapists. To get started with TalkSpace, you take an online mental health assessment so the program can match you with a therapist that meets your needs. Once you’re matched, you can message your therapist at any time, even during middle of the night nursing sessions. You can also schedule video call appointments. Talkspace offers three different payment plans, ranging from $65 to $99 a week and they also accept many insurance plans.
7 cups is an online therapy provider with people available 24/7 to listen and provide support. You can choose to talk with a trained volunteer for free or pay $150 a month to speak with a licensed therapist.
BetterHelp offers a range of different mental health services, including text therapy, online chat therapy and live video sessions. You’ll be matched with a therapist after filling out a questionnaire and if that person isn’t a good fit, you can switch at any time, no questions asked. Fees range from $60 to $80 per week depending on how many live sessions you’d like. BetterHelp also offers financial aid if cost is a barrier to you.
MDLive allows you to speak with a counselor or psychiatrist via mobile app, video or phone. This is a great option if you’re looking for a service that can both offer online therapy as well as medication management. Medication may not be necessary for everyone with PPD, but it can be a crucial part of recovery (as it was for me!). You can speak with a psychiatrist for $259 for the first visit and $99 for each follow up visit.
PSI is a great resource for any new parent struggling with their mental health. Their website provides a wealth of information on postpartum mood disorders and they offer a free helpline you can call at any time. If you’re having trouble finding a therapist, PSI provides a comprehensive directory of local mental health providers and can help connect you with someone in your area. PSI also offers free online postpartum depression support groups where you can connect with other parents who are going through something similar.
“With the right support, PPD can be treated and you can embrace your life as a parent."
Postpartum Depression is Not the End
If you’re wondering if how you are feeling as a new mom is “normal” or could be postpartum depression, it’s important that you talk to a healthcare professional so they can help.
Most new moms experience the “baby blues” or feelings of sadness that come in the days or weeks after giving birth, but postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety (PPA) are more severe and persistent conditions that can affect many areas of your life. If you’re having trouble eating, sleeping or finding joy in activities you used to love, it may be time to reach out for help.
The bottom line is if you find yourself wondering–“Is this normal?”–it never hurts to ask a professional who can help you determine if you could benefit from additional support. If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm or thoughts of hurting your baby, go to your nearest emergency room.
Becoming a parent is hard, but it shouldn’t be devoid of joy. Once I got help and started to heal, the color slowly started coming back into my world and I could enjoy my baby and my new life as a mom. With the right support, PPD can be treated and you can embrace your life as a parent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is PPD curable?
PPD is highly treatable, and with the right support and treatment, you can manage your symptoms and feel better.
How long does PPD last?
Treatment and recovery time for PPD can vary depending on the severity of your depression and how soon you receive treatment. Most people start to feel better within a few months of starting treatment, but for some, PPD can persist for years. This is why it’s so important to seek help as early as possible.
Is PPD a disability?
PPD is often temporary but it is a serious medical condition that will not go away on its own and needs proper treatment. Whether it is determined a disability under the law depends on where you live and how PPD has affected you. You may have legal rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) for accommodations at work if you meet certain criteria. For more information, visit https://babygate.abetterbalance.org/.
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