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Poor mental health is a widespread issue that countless Americans face. Now, with the fear of the pandemic, the losses many Americans have undergone, and social distancing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, mental illness is more prevalent than ever.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, in June 2020 more than 40% of Americans reported struggling with mental health or substance use – a number which was drastically higher than that of late June 2019. About 30% of those respondents reported symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder. In short: the pandemic is scary and coping with it is no easy task.
American women (like myself) are faced with societal pressures everyday. This can mean anything from the unhealthy obsession to be a size 2 with an hourglass figure (seriously, is that even possible?) to the expectation of us to always put on a happy face. Of course men have their own, unique challenges as well so there is no doubt that gender-specific struggles exist and need to be addressed as such. That’s exactly where companies like Hers step in.
Who is Hers?
Hers is a holistic wellness company built specifically for women, dedicated to giving us the tools we need in order to be healthy. Originally, this meant providing women with easy access to information, care, and products for hair, skin and sexual health. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of (or even tried) their hair-strengthening gummies or D2C birth control. I love that Hers offers all of this (and still does) but they also recognized that in the current climate, women needed more. Physical health was in check, but what millions of women really needed was affordable access to mental health care.
Hers has now strategically adapted and further developed their offerings in order to address the mental health epidemic that American women are facing due to the pandemic. It seems so fitting how Hers revolutionized women’s health with digital, and now aims to do the same for mental health.
Hers Mental Health review: What services do they offer?
Unlike other startups in the telemedicine space that are typically pressed to specialize in one offering, Hers tackles mental health support from several different angles. To me, this makes perfect sense. Everyone handles stress, loss, and negative feelings in different ways, meaning the support we need in order to cope varies as well. Just as every woman’s body is different, so are our minds and life experiences. And to have a company like Hers be specifically focused on women makes the process that much easier.
Addressing mental health problems is more than trying to develop a one-size-fits-all solution. Hers knows this and has built up their offerings to tailor to everyone’s unique situation:
- Online psychiatry and medication management
- Anonymous support groups
- Individual therapy
- Free resources and content.
Let’s dive into each one. 🙂
Overview: Hers Online Psychiatry
Hers online psychiatry is the easiest way to get professional help and treatment without having to leave the comfort of your home. Hers’ qualified psychiatrists will meet with you over video chat to evaluate your situation and help craft a treatment plan. Plus, they can ship any medication straight to your door with free shipping. Basically, it’s a super simple solution to getting you the help you need; something that often feels pretty daunting.
How does Hers online psychiatry work?
- Fill out the questionnaire. Hers describes this as answering some non-scary questions. This gives them a good overview of your medical history and current symptoms. It’s about 40 or so questions, but they fly by.
- Book your virtual appointment. No hunting for psychiatrists, inconvenient appointment times or even leaving the house. If you’re qualified for treatment, just pick a time slot that works for you and you’re all set.
- Connect with your matched therapist. You’ll be paired up with a qualified psychiatry provider and have a video chat about your current situation. From there, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
- The follow up. If you are prescribed medication, your psychiatry provider will be sure to monitor the results with you and will be there to help if you think you may need to make any changes, large or small.
What medications can Hers prescribe?
The majority of the medications that Hers prescribes will be those that are commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, like SSRIs and SNRIs. Take note, however, that they cannot prescribe controlled substances (like Adderall) at this time.
Here are some of the more commonly prescribed SNRIs and SSRIs that Hers prescribes:
- Bupropion (generic version of Wellbutrin)
- Citalopram (generic version of Celexa)
- Duloxetine (generic version of Cymbalta)
- Escitalopram (generic version of Lexapro)
- Fluoxetine (generic version of Prozac)
- Paroxetine (generic version of Paxil)
- Sertraline (generic version of Zoloft)
- Venlafaxine (generic version of Effexor)
And remember, your Hers psychiatrist won’t necessarily prescribe you a medication. They’ll determine a customized health plan for you, based on your health questionnaire and video chat. Nothing to be afraid of!
How much does Hers online psychiatry cost?
A lot of telemedicine companies out there (especially in the mental health space) love to tout how much money you save versus doing things in the traditional, in-person way. And a lot of times, it’s true. But Hers wants to make it even cheaper than the other guys.
For the average American suffering from mental illness to actually take action and get the help she needs, cost can’t be such a barrier to entry. There will always be costs associated with gaining access to the professional medical advice and treatment needed, even with Hers. But take a look at how their prices stack up to two of their biggest competitors: Cerebral and Brightside.
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Overview: Hers Anonymous Support Groups
Hers support groups are a great way to get the support you’re after without breaking the bank, searching for a therapist, or leaving your house. Plus, the mere thought of seeing a therapist can be downright scary. Support groups negate that factor. You can choose just how interactive you want to be – using your name, video, and audio is all optional.
How do Hers support groups work?
It’s super simple. Hers offers a nice list of classes to choose from, each with different “teachers,” dates/times, and topics. Just pick the session you’re interested in and book the time slot that works best for you. From there, they send you an email with the Zoom meeting info. Don’t forget to click that button to add it to your calendar! Worst case, if you need to cancel or reschedule, just hop onto your website and make the switch.
What types of support groups does Hers offer?
Hers offers a pretty wide range of topics for their anonymous support groups, from teaching self compassion to taking control of your anxiety. Personally, I signed up for an hour long meditation lesson (Meditation for All: Staying Sane in Tough Times) as I often find myself struggling to deal with stress from work. This particular session was mid-day on a Monday, which I intentionally chose to force me to log out of work for an hour, be still, and set my intentions for the week. Highly recommend it! 🙂
How much do Hers support groups cost?
At the time of writing this article, they’re free 99! Apparently, they wanted to ensure everyone’s able to deal with Covid stressors without worrying about finances. Generally they run $15 per session, so I’d highly recommend checking one out now while they’re free.
Overview: Hers Individual Therapy
Most folks out there are familiar with companies like Talkspace and Betterhelp: two leaders in the virtual therapy space. If you’ve ever Googled something therapy-related, they’ve almost certainly hit your Instagram feed a TON with ads. I haven’t personally used their platforms before, but scrolling through their Instagram comments, I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews. They’re pretty darn expensive and not everyone has been too satisfied with the quality of their therapists.
As part of their big mental health push, Hers Online Therapy platform will be launching in early 2021. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a concrete launch date, pricing details, etc. quite yet, but here are a few things we DO know:
- Hers therapists will be fully licensed and board-certified. Since building up a team of therapists who’s certified in every single state is a big task, they may not support your state from the get-go. But based on how large-and-in-charge Hers is, I predict that it won’t take long at all.
- You’ll have the option to attend over video conference (generally preferable by patients) or chat (if you’re a bit skittish).
- Pricing will be comparable to (if not better than) the other guys. Just to give you some benchmarks: Talkspace runs between $50-100 per week, Betterhelp $40-70, and Cerebral just $25 per week.
- Therapists won’t be able to prescribe you any medication, but they will be able to refer you over to an online psychiatrist on their team who can. Since their entire mental health platform is housed under one roof, this’ll be infinitely more seamless than it would be with most other telemedicine providers.
Free resources and mental health content from Hers
The easiest, most non-committal way to invest in your mental wellbeing is by checking out Hers’ little resource center. These videos are basically bits and pieces from the Anonymous Support Groups. You’re still getting support from licensed therapists and mental health professionals, but you can do it on your own time and at your own pace. Plus, using these resources can be a really great way to gain support if you’re ballin’ on a budget. Hers offers all sorts of free resources, from tips on getting a better night’s sleep (four minutes long) to understanding how your brain handles anxiety and depression (16 minutes).
I took the 8 minute “Fostering Resilience and Self Care: Make Self-Care Soup” video and personally found it both helpful and interesting. Without giving away any spoilers, it explains the four domains of self-care, provides examples of how you can improve your self care, and even shares a nice chart you can screenshot to make your own self care plan for homework. You can check it out here:
Final Thoughts: Is Hers a legit option for online psychiatry, therapy, and support groups?
Hers may be later to the mental health game than companies like Cerebral, Brightside, and Talkspace, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re any less awesome. The Zenmaster team spends a lot of time researching companies in the telemedicine space, so believe me when I say that it’s rare to see a company offering so many ways to better your mental health.
Hers online psychiatry is a great fit for people who are interested in a more convenient, virtual solution and those who have had a less-than-stellar experience with another provider. They’ve been building up a team of nop-totch, board-certified psychiatrists throughout 2020 and only seem to be spending more effort on improving this year. Not to forget, their pricing beats out any competitor we’ve seen to date.
If you don’t think a psychiatric evaluation is necessary for you, but you DO know you need support in some form, it’s definitely worth giving either their anonymous support groups or virtual therapy options a shot. While the latter isn’t launched quite yet, these support groups are an awesome (and free!) way to get your foot in the door, talk things out with folks who are available to listen, and get yourself on the path to health and happiness.
Times are tough – there’s no denying that. And just because 2020 is over doesn’t mean that things are going to magically get better overnight. But if you’re willing to give a company like Hers a shot, you can rest assured you’re in some good hands. It really does seem like they’ve got something for everybody.
Drop us a quick DM on IG if you decide to give Hers a shot – we’d love to hear your experience so we can share with others. And until then, have a great start to the year. 🙂