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.
Psychiatrists per 100,000 people
% Needing Care With No Access
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:
Take a questionnaire assessing your needs
Get matched with your professional therapist
Communicate through the platform’s interface
It’s simple, accessible, and tailored care from the comfort of home.
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
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:
Calmerry – Starting at US$50/week (currently offering 25% off), it is the least expensive platform. With Calmerry, 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.
This table summarizes some of the key competitors BetterHelp faces in the South African market.
While BetterHelp stands out in terms of size, features, and counselor training, services like Talkspace, Calmerry, Regain, and iCare offer alternatives.
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
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.
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.
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.
From deeply understanding cultural contexts to providing representation that encourages vulnerability, Black therapists play invaluable roles like fostering resistance to internalized oppression that profoundly shape mental health pathways for both Black clients and society overall.
BetterHelp offers 50-60% savings versus typical $200 per in-office therapy thanks to lean operations, optimized billing, scaled subscriber base, and flexibility of virtual sessions – discover how they keep quality up amid competitive fees.
Mindful living for a happier, healthier you.
I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a 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
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