BetterHelp South Africa: 2024 Cost & Full Review

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Updated:

Fact Checked

a South African national flag waving against the wind hung up on a pole against blue sky and clouds

Note: This post is supported by our readers and contains affiliate links, which will earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

Mental health issues are incredibly common, yet support often feels out of reach. Recent surveys found that 1 in 4 South Africans struggle with depression.

Despite this prevalence, nearly 75% of those in need receive no treatment. Affordability, access, and stigma pose persistent barriers — but there is hope.

BetterHelp in South Africa offers an affordable online therapy solution to empower South Africans to get the mental health support they deserve.

Mental health care struggle in South Africa

South Africa grapples with distinct mental health challenges. A history of apartheid, high rates of violence and poverty, and lack of access to care culminate in concerning statistics:

  • 30% of adults will have suffered from mental illness in their lifetime
  • 1 in 6 has an anxiety disorder like OCD or PTSD
  • 1 in 4 live with depression
  • 9% of teen deaths are suicides

Yet quality mental health resources are painfully sparse. There are just 0.31 psychiatrists per 100,000 people — 50 times less than the US. For a nation of 59 million, this extreme shortage leaves many struggling without life-saving support.

StatisticNumber
Psychiatrists per 100,000 people0.31
% Needing Care With No Access75%
Seeking help is essential, but traditional barriers can make this seem impossible. Online therapy breaks these barriers down.

Introducing BetterHelp South Africa

Founded in California in 2013, BetterHelp in South Africa brings affordable, convenient therapy support online. Their network of credentialed counselors, psychologists, and social workers provides video, phone, chat, and messaging-based care.

With their intuitive site and app, getting started takes just minutes:

  1. Take a questionnaire assessing your needs
  2. Get matched with your professional therapist
  3. Communicate through the platform’s interface

It’s simple, accessible, and tailored care from the comfort of home.

Try BetterHelp

Excellent

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

Over 30K credentialed professionals

Financial aid available

Subscriptions as low as R1116/week, billed every four weeks

Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

TAKE ASSESMENT

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betterhelp logo
betterhelp review

4.5 (7,344+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 35K credentialed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as 65 USD/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

Cost comparison: online therapy vs. in-office private counseling in South Africa

BetterHelp pricing is based on a subscription model, with subscription options that are billed every four weeks.

Online therapy South Africa (BetterHelp) Traditional Therapy
R1224 to R1695 per week R1884 to R2826 for 45-60 minute session
(One live session per week and ongoing messaging) (No support in between)
R4896 to R6780 per month R7536 to R11305 per month
Get 20% off on BetterHelp.com

*Currency exchange rates vary and subject to change without notice

Pricing in South Africa is as follows:

  • Weekly: As low as about R1224 per week (USD 65 to 90 per week, billed every four weeks).
  • Monthly: R4896 to R6780 per month (1 weekly live session 30-45 minutes, support in between, 1 weekly group session).
  • All major debit/credit cards accepted & Paypal.
  • Plans can be canceled anytime.

BetterHelp counselors have training in areas like depression, anxiety, PTSD, LGBTQ issues, grief, self-esteem, relationships, addictions, and more. 

While BetterHelp’s pricing in South Africa is comparable to traditional in-person counseling costs, it offers a vast network of specialist counselors that exceeds what is available locally.

Financial aid

Financial assistance may be available for those who can’t afford the standard pricing. You can apply for financial aid during the signup process.

Getting started

  • Visit BetterHelp.com and answer a brief survey about your needs
  • Get matched with a therapist or psychologist
  • Pick a plan
  • Communication takes place online through the BetterHelp platform.
  • You can pause, switch counselors, and update needs anytime.
  • You can communicate with your counselor via video, voice call, chat, or text. 

Benefits of BetterHelp in South Africa

downtown birdseye view of metro area in South Africa with one of the buildings painted in national flag colors

An important question for South Africans considering BetterHelp – are there actually counselors available who understand the South African context and culture?

BetterHelp’s extraordinarily diverse online therapist network features professionals well-versed in various cultural contexts and identities. Advanced matching helps connect you to culturally competent providers attuned to sensitively supporting your needs.

Some things BetterHelp says about their counselor pool:

  • Over 33,000 credentialed professional therapists
  • You can message your therapist anytime
  • All have at least 1,000 hours and 3 years of clinical experience and hold a master’s degree or higher
  • Counselors credentialed in the U.K. or licensed in the U.S.
  • All counselors speak English, and some are bi-lingual (availability varies)
  • Counselors trained in issues relevant to South Africans like:
    • Anxiety, depression, Trauma/PTSD, Grief/loss, LGBTQ+, Addiction, Relationships, Racial injustice

Ad, keeps our community free. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

betterhelp logo
betterhelp review

4.5 (7,344+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 35K credentialed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as 65 USD/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

Try BetterHelp

Excellent

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

Over 30K credentialed professionals

Financial aid available

Subscriptions as low as R1116/week, billed every four weeks

Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

TAKE ASSESMENT

The expansive BetterHelp counselor pool and the ability to easily switch counselors are advantages over limited in-person options in South Africa.

Even if the exact fit isn’t found on the first try, BetterHelp makes it simple to be matched with another suitable counselor for your needs.

Alternatives to BetterHelp in South Africa

While BetterHelp is one of the largest global online therapy providers, it has some competition in South Africa.

Other platforms South Africans can consider for online counseling include:

Online.therapy.comStarting at US$40/week (currently offering 20% off), it is the least expensive platform. With Online-therapy.com, you can message a therapist anytime and schedule video sessions at your convenience. It offers an alternative for those seeking flexible options for getting help with conditions like anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and more. Their team of providers has experience across specialties like CBT, mindfulness, and positive psychology.

Talkspace – Talkspace connects South Africans to licensed therapists via text, video, and audio messaging. Some key differences are higher pricing tiers compared to BetterHelp due to the availability of psychiatrists and medication management. However, Talkspace has a smaller counselor network available in South Africa.

ICare – Based in Cape Town, iCare offers both self-help resources and direct counseling by text, phone, or video. iCare focuses specifically on the South African market and has counselors across major cities. However, the platform has fewer features than BetterHelp and is newer, so may have some kinks.

South African Online Counseling Options

Platform Pricing Counselor Pool
BetterHelp R4896+ per month Large, 33K+ globally
Talkspace From R5140+ per month (Currently $80 off) Therapy, Psychiatry, Meds
Regain R4470+ per month (Currently 20% off) Couples counselors globally
iCare R400-R800 per session Local South African counselors

This table summarizes some of the key competitors BetterHelp faces in the South African market. While BetterHelp stands out in size, features, and counselor training, services like Talkspace, Online-therapy.com, Regain, and iCare offer alternatives.

Additional resources

  • Lifeline provides mental and emotional health services aligned with human rights principles. They offer preventative and responsive programs, as well as 24-hour telephone support, aimed at promoting well-being within the diverse cultures of South Africa.
  • South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) provides free phone-based counseling sessions 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Their main focus is supporting those dealing with mental health issues and reducing stigma. SADAG operates a 16-line counseling and referral call center to serve people across urban, suburban, and rural South Africa. For urgent situations, they also run a 24/7 crisis helpline.

Best practices for using BetterHelp in South Africa

Here are some tips to get the most out of using BetterHelp if you’re located in South Africa:

  • Be open and honest in your initial questionnaire so you get accurately matched with a counselor
  • Clearly communicate your therapy goals and topics you want to focus on
  • Use video sessions as much as possible to build rapport with your counselor
  • Find a comfortable space to talk without disruptions during sessions
  • Stick with a counselor for a few months to give the relationship time – changing too quickly can slow progress
  • Look into financial assistance if needed
  • Use messaging and diary features in between scheduled sessions when you need additional support
  • Attend group sessions (included in the plan)
  • Be mindful of any time difference with your therapist

Pros and cons of using BetterHelp in South Africa

Pros

Here are some of the main advantages of using BetterHelp for online counseling in South Africa:

  • Convenience: No need to commute to appointments. Access therapy from home.
  • Flexibility: Message your counselor whenever, therapists will respond when they are available. Schedule video/phone sessions when it’s convenient for you.
  • Affordability: Similar cost to traditional in-office therapy.
  • Financial aid: Financial assistance offered.
  • Accessibility: Fully available across South Africa, including rural areas lacking mental health professionals.

Cons

Some potential disadvantages to keep in mind:

  • No in-person interaction: Some prefer face-to-face therapy over online sessions.
  • Matching issues: Getting the ideal counselor match can take some trial and error.
  • Tech problems: Technical issues can disrupt video or chat-based sessions.
  • Crisis help: BetterHelp doesn’t offer crisis or emergency services or suicide hotlines.

Bottom line: Should I use BetterHelp in South Africa?

For South Africans seeking a convenient way to access therapy online, BetterHelp is worth considering. 

The stigma against mental health treatment makes many South Africans hesitant to be seen walking into a therapist’s office. BetterHelp offers virtual access to counseling without this visibility.

If you answer the initial questionnaire correctly, communicate clearly with your counselor, and use the platform effectively, it can provide valid therapy.

While BetterHelp has pros and cons compared to traditional therapy, it empowers South Africans across the country to get mental health support that many would not otherwise access due to stigma or lack of local providers in their area.

FAQ’s

How much does BetterHelp cost in South Africa?

BetterHelp in South Africa offers subscription plans that cost USD $65-90 per week (billed every four weeks) to suit different budgets and needs.

Exact pricing ranges based on your preferences chosen, your location, and the length of sessions. The platform also provides financial assistance for those who qualify to increase affordability.

Can I use my insurance for BetterHelp in South Africa?

When using BetterHelp services in South Africa, BetterHelp does not accept insurance or medical aid plans as payment.

However, they make an effort to keep subscription pricing affordable for South Africans. It is possible that some insurance may reimburse you for online therapy and it would be best to check the details of your plan to confirm.

References

  1. BMC Psychiatry, Psychiatric stigma and discrimination in South Africa: perspectives from key stakeholders. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-14-191
  2. Do a third of South Africans really suffer from mental illnesses?https://africacheck.org/fact-checks/reports/do-third-south-africans-really-suffer-mental-illnesses
  3. South African Medical Research, https://www.samrc.ac.za/
  4. South African Society of Psychiatrists: https://www.sasop.co.za/teen-suicide#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20World%20Health,the%20country%20are%20due%20to
  5. Cambridge University, Is mental health in South Africa moving forward? https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-international/article/is-mental-health-in-south-africa-moving-forward/79B4C811F4E201731C6917E163A661A0
YouTube video
State of Mental Health: South Africa

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About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a medical writer, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and a mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with nine years working as a therapist. I hold a Master's in Clinical Psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social connections are vital to mental well-being, and I am dedicated to fostering communities of support and empathy. By sharing knowledge and personal insights, I strive to create a more compassionate world. Social

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