BetterHelp South Korea: 2024 Cost & Full Review

Written By

Ava Cheng

Updated:

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This article examines online therapy and the BetterHelp platform in South Korea, including accessibility, cost, convenience, and stigma.

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety are prevalent, seeking professional help for mental health issues is crucial. However, accessing quality counseling services can be challenging, especially for residents living in South Korea.

Language barriers, cultural differences, and the stigma associated with mental health can hinder individuals from receiving the support they need.

Key insights

  • BetterHelp.com is available in South Korea.
  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are rising in South Korea’s high-pressure society, but stigma prevents many from seeking help.
  • BetterHelp provides more affordable online counseling starting at KRW 84,900/week, compared to KRW 150,000+/session for traditional in-person therapy*.
  • With convenient 24/7 access and a diverse pool of specialized therapists, BetterHelp aims to reduce the stigma of mental health treatment in South Korea.

*Estimated cost in South Korean Won is based on the exchange rate of 1 USD to 1350 KRW. Rates may fluctuate.

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✓ Over 35K credentialed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

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

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

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The need for mental health support in South Korea

South Korea is known for its high-pressure society, where academic and professional success are highly valued.

This intense focus on achievement often leads to increased stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. Unfortunately, seeking help for these issues is often stigmatized, preventing many individuals from reaching out to counselors.

However, the emergence of online counseling platforms like BetterHelp may be changing the landscape of mental health support in the country.

Cost comparison: online therapy in South Korea vs. in-person counseling

To learn whether BetterHelp is cost-effective in South Korea, let’s compare the pricing of online therapy with traditional therapy in the country.

BetterHelp plans are displayed in weekly prices and billed every four weeks. Here are the South Korean pricing tiers:

Service BetterHelp: South Korea Traditional Therapy
Session Cost KRW 84,400 – KRW 116,900 KRW 150,000 – KRW 300,000
Frequency of Sessions Once a week + messaging in between included Typically once a week (no support in between)
Monthly Cost KRW 337,600 – KRW 467,600 KRW 600,000 – KRW 1,200,000
Insurance Coverage Not covered. Some plans may provide partial reimbursement Limited insurance coverage, often requiring high deductibles and co-payments
Accessibility 24/7 platform access, no travel required Limited availability, travel time, and costs involved
Get 20% off on BetterHelp.com

*Estimated cost in South Korean Won is based on the exchange rate of 1 USD to 1350 KRW. Rates may fluctuate.

  • In USD, BetterHelp plans cost $65-90 per week or $260-360 monthly.
  • It’s important to note that the pricing varies based on the plan (30 or 45-minute sessions), location, and preferences selected.

In contrast, traditional in-office therapy in South Korea can cost KRW 600,000 to KRW 1,200,000 per month or upwards of $890 monthly in USD.

It’s evident that BetterHelp offers a more affordable solution, with weekly live sessions and the benefit of messaging your therapist anytime.

Plans can be canceled anytime without any penalties.

Insurance coverage & financial aid

Like most online therapy platforms, BetterHelp does not currently accept health insurance in South Korea.

Sessions are paid out-of-pocket, and a financial assistance option is offered on the sign-up page.

Overall, mental health counseling has limited insurance coverage in South Korea:

  • National health insurance provides some coverage, but it is limited. Only a small number of counseling sessions may be covered annually.
  • Private insurance plans offer better mental health coverage but often have high deductibles and co-payments. The reimbursement rate is typically 50-80% after meeting the deductible.

In summary, limited insurance coverage, high out-of-pocket costs, stigma, and lack of employer benefits make mental health counseling difficult to access for many South Koreans under the current system.

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

Using BetterHelp in South Korea

Accessibility and convenience

One of the key advantages of BetterHelp in South Korea is its accessibility.

  • Unlike traditional therapy, which requires in-person appointments, BetterHelp provides counseling services online.

This means that individuals can access support from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for travel and saving valuable time.

24/7 availability

Another significant advantage of BetterHelp is its round-the-clock availability.

  • Traditional therapists often operate within specific business hours.

With BetterHelp, individuals can message their therapist any time, with responses often within 24 hours, and book live sessions at a convenient time.

A diverse pool of counselors

For members accessing BetterHelp from South Korea, BetterHelp boasts a diverse pool of credentialed counselors who specialize in various areas of mental health.

  • Whether someone is struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or any other concern, they can find a counselor who suits their specific needs.

The platform also allows individuals to switch counselors (at no extra cost) if they feel they are not a good match, ensuring that they receive the support that resonates with them.

Therapists for adults and teens

BetterHelp connects South Korean users with accredited, experienced therapists worldwide.

English is the default language on the platform.

  • Their diverse network includes many bilingual counselors from various cultures and backgrounds (Korean language matching is possible but not guaranteed as therapist availability varies).

Users are matched with therapists based on background, preferences, goals, and specialty areas.

Addressing the stigma of mental health therapy in South Korea

South Korea has long grappled with a stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Many individuals fear judgment and discrimination if they seek therapy, leading to a reluctance to address their mental health concerns openly.

However, BetterHelp aims to break down these barriers by providing a stigma-free virtual platform for individuals to seek counseling services.

Still, significant challenges remain:

  • Per Statista, in 2021, over 100,000 people in South Korea were registered as having mental disabilities.
  • South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates and fewer than 4 psychologists per 100,000 people, which is one of the lowest in the world relative to its population of over 51 million.
  • Per Korea JoongAng Daily, 36.8% of Koreans experienced depression, the highest among the member OECD countries.
  • National health insurance provides limited counseling coverage, and private insurance has high deductibles or co-pays. Patients are expected to pay partial or full cost of therapy out of pocket.
  • 95% of South Koreans reported being stressed, per Harvard International Review.

By offering online counseling, BetterHelp reduces the cost of access to therapy and eliminates the need for face-to-face appointments, allowing individuals to seek help discreetly and comfortably.

Additional mental health resources available in South Korea

Here is a comparison of online therapy services accessible from South Korea:

Service Weekly Cost Key Considerations
Online-therapy.com KRW 53110+ Professional therapy for wide range of conditions.
BetterHelp KRW 84400+ Financial aid available. Live video chat. You can message your therapist anytime.
Talkspace KRW 93273+ Messaging & video, medications & management, psychiatrists available. Adults & teens.
Regain KRW 84400+ Relationship/intimacy experts.

*Estimated cost in South Korean Won is based on the exchange rate of 1 USD to 1350 KRW. Rates may fluctuate.

Free or low-cost local mental health and crisis support services:

Tips to success with online therapy

  • Ensure you have a stable internet connection and a comfortable space for your video sessions. Therapists in South Korea recommend having sessions in an enclosed room and using headphones.
  • Be open and honest with your therapist. Online therapy can be just as effective as in-person when you actively participate. Don’t hold back from sharing your thoughts and feelings.
  • Schedule sessions in advance and treat them as essential appointments you won’t cancel or reschedule. Consistency is critical to making progress.
  • Don’t multitask during sessions. Stay focused on the conversation and avoid distractions. Turn off notifications on your device.
  • Use a checklist to identify your goals for therapy and track your progress. This will help you get the most value from each session.
  • If needed, ask your therapist for homework or exercises between sessions. This can reinforce what you’re learning.
  • Stick with the process. It may take a few sessions to feel comfortable. But in time, you’ll likely find great benefits.

Verdict: Should I use BetterHelp in South Korea?

BetterHelp is aiding mental health support in the country by offering accessible, convenient, and stigma-free online counseling services.

  • It is a good option for affordable online counseling with pre-vetted, specialized therapists.
  • It works well if in-office therapy is impractical, you are comfortable with technology, and you have non-urgent issues to discuss.

Expats living in South Korea no longer have to navigate language barriers, cultural differences, and the stigma of seeking therapy.

With a diverse pool of credentialed counselors and a reasonably priced subscription model, BetterHelp is providing individuals in South Korea with the support they need to prioritize their mental health.

To learn more, check out our full BetterHelp review.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will online therapy be effective for South Koreans?

While not a replacement for urgent psychiatric or crisis situations, online counseling has gained recognition and acceptance worldwide due to its effectiveness in providing mental health support.

  • Numerous studies have shown that online therapy can be just as effective as traditional in-person therapy.

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was as effective as face-to-face CBT in treating depression and anxiety disorders.

How do I find the right therapist on BetterHelp when I sign up from South Korea?

When completing the sign-up questionnaire, be sure to answer all questions as truthfully as possible, this ensures effective matching.

Is BetterHelp LGBTQ+ friendly?

BetterHelp provides LGBTQ+-friendly services by allowing users to share gender identity and sexual orientation during sign-up for appropriate matching, offering counselors experienced in common LGBTQ+ issues, and enabling discreet access to therapy.

  • The platform aims to create an affirming and understanding environment for queer, transgender, and non-binary clients to receive care.

References

  1. Mental health in South Korea – statistics & facts. https://www.statista.com/topics/9688/mental-health-in-south-korea/#topicOverview
  2. Where are the psychologists?https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2021/06/17/opinion/columns/OECD/20210617192400313.html
  3. Harvard International Review. https://hir.harvard.edu/the-struggle-of-mental-health-care-delivery-in-south-korea-and-singapore/
  4. South Korea may look perfect, but behind the facade lies a devastating suicide crisis. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/29/south-korea-suicide-crisis-k-pop-young-people
  5. The Effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659300/
  6. DO SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS/PRESSURE DRIVE UNHAPPINESS IN SOUTH KOREA? https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/760926
YouTube video
Mental Health Struggles in South Korea

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About the author

Ava Cheng

Ava Cheng

Hey there, I'm Ava Cheng—an inquisitive soul originally from Hong Kong now based in Singapore. As a physiotherapist, I have a passion for understanding women's health and the crossroads of medicine and psychology. Living in the heart of Singapore, I'm on a constant journey to explore the latest trends in these fascinating fields. The human body and mind never fail to amaze me, and I'm determined to unravel their mysteries one discovery at a time. Let's embark on this intellectual adventure together! Social

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