Sesame Care Review: Online Therapy on Demand
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Video Therapy Sessions
- Virtual sessions with a licensed therapist
- On-demand availability, sometimes including same-day appointments
Video Psychiatry Sessions
- Virtual consultations with a psychiatric provider
- $5 medications and free medication delivery for qualifying prescriptions
Video Couples Therapy Sessions
- Virtual couples therapy sessions with a licensed therapist
- Couples attend sessions together from the same device
Sesame, also known as Sesame Care, is a platform that offers online and in-office access to medical professionals across a variety of medical specialties, including primary care, dermatology, and mental health care, among others. Individuals looking for a way to quickly book a therapy session can use the platform to find a licensed therapist, sometimes with same-day appointment availability. In our roundup of the best online therapy platforms, Sesame was our pick for the best online therapy platform for on-demand appointments.
Pros and Cons of Sesame Care Online Therapy
- Offers online individual therapy, couples therapy, and psychiatry
- Option for $5 medication and delivery for qualifying prescriptions
- Same-day appointment availability with some providers
- Does not take insurance
- Limited provider availability in some states
- Couples need to attend sessions from the same location
How Does Sesame Care Work?
Individuals looking for online therapy or psychiatry can schedule appointments as new patients or as existing patients using its mental health care page. This page also shows providers who offer online couples therapy.
Here’s how to book a therapy or psychiatry session:
- Set your location and enter the type of care you’re looking for in the search bar.
- Browse providers’ profiles, costs, and availability.
- Choose from available providers and select an appointment time.
- Enter your contact information, the reason for the visit, and payment information to book your session.
Sesame may not have providers who are licensed to practice in all states. For example, as of October 2022, there were no licensed online psychiatrists available for users who live in Alaska.
Individual and Couples Therapy
When searching for online therapy or couples therapy, you will be presented with a list of providers to choose from. Depending on where you live and the availability of providers licensed in your state, you may be presented with a variety of mental health provider types to choose from, such as psychologists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), psychiatrists, primary care doctors, and family nurse practitioners. Under the provider’s name and credentials, it will list the type of service they offer. For example, under the name of someone who is an LCSW, you may see “video postpartum therapy session.”
Unlike the couples therapy platform ReGain, Sesame does not offer three-way conferencing for sessions, according to Sesame customer support. Partners need to attend sessions from the same location and device during couples therapy sessions.
If you’re looking for online psychiatric care, you will be presented with a list of available psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and family nurse practitioners to choose from. Although family nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat patients with uncomplicated mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, they may not be able to diagnose or treat patients with complicated mental illnesses, such as personality disorders, that fall outside of their scope of practice, according to an article published in 2019 in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners.
If your psychiatric provider prescribes medication, you can ask them to send your prescription to your pharmacy for pickup, or you can ask them to issue it through SesameRx, the platform’s prescription service. If you use the pharmacy pickup option, you’ll pay whatever price your pharmacy charges. If you use SesameRx, you will pay the price that Sesame charges, which depends on the medication. Some medications through SesameRx cost $5 with free delivery, including the following, among others:
- Amitriptyline (Endep)
- Bupropion SR (Wellbutrin SR)
- Bupropion XL (Wellbutrin XL)
- Buspirone (Buspar)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Duloxetine DR (Cymbalta)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
To see what $5 medications Sesame offers, you can use its website to search by condition. Not all providers use SesameRx. Providers who offer prescriptions through SesameRx have a “$5 Meds” label on their profile.
Sesame helps users access mental health care providers as soon as the same day, if providers are available. If a provider doesn’t show availability on their calendar, you can still choose the provider and click the Book button. After checkout, Sesame will provide you with information on how to schedule your appointment. If your provider cannot see you within seven days, you will get a refund.
According to Justin Gerstner, MD, psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Ellie Mental Health in St. Paul, Minnesota, “The most important factor in mental health treatment is that a patient can get help when they need it.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that, in 2020, only 48 percent of U.S. adults in nonmetropolitan areas received treatment for mental illness. Dr. Gerstner adds that accessing mental health treatment online “might be as simple as being able to make an appointment in the middle of the day because the patient doesn’t have to take extra time to drive to and from a clinic.”
Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, the provider will send you a link to the virtual appointment room. Based on the provider’s preferences, the visits can take place on the Sesame virtual platform or another secure videoconferencing platform. Sesame does not indicate in advance which providers use its platform for visits.
According to a Sesame FAQ page, you can cancel your appointment without charge up to three hours before your scheduled appointment time. If you cancel within three hours of your appointment, or if you don’t show up, you’ll be charged full price. For same-day appointments, you need to cancel within one hour of booking in order to receive a full refund.
Sesame Care Cost and Payment Options
Costs for Sesame telehealth sessions depend on your location and the available providers licensed to practice in your state. More specifically, providers may charge different per-session costs for their services, depending on their expertise. For example, Sesame quoted us $101 for a video psychiatry consultation with a nurse practitioner in New York City and $440 for a psychiatrist with a medical degree.
Although Sesame doesn’t accept insurance, it accepts health savings account cards and flexible spending account cards. Individuals with out-of-network benefits in their insurance plans can submit Sesame invoices for reimbursement.
Visits with providers on Sesame are charged per session. With a membership on Sesame Plus, you’ll pay $20 less for telehealth visits, including online therapy and online psychiatry. Sesame Plus costs $10.99 per month, or $99 per year if you pay up front.
Sesame Plus members can cancel their membership anytime by contacting customer support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 877-947-6411.
Compare Sesame Care to Other Online Therapy Options
Starting Cost for Therapy*
Starting Cost for Psychiatry*
Medication Delivery Option
Varies by provider
Varies by provider
$299 per month
$95 per month for medication-only plan;
$349 per month for medication and therapy plan
$108 per session
$284 for the initial visit;
$108 per follow-up visit
$240–$360 per month
Live video, audio, or text;
Varies by provider
Varies by provider
Varies by provider
*Out-of-pocket cost without insurance
Sesame Care Reviews
As of October 2022, Sesame had received 2.14 out of 5 stars from 14 customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. It is not an accredited business, and it has a rating of B+, which isn’t determined by reviews. Sesame is rated 4.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 628 reviews.
Although there weren’t any reviews from users that accessed online therapy on the platform, positive reviews mentioned positive experiences with Sesame providers, an easy-to-use platform, and the convenience of online access to providers for on-demand medical visits. Some users reported clear audio and video through the platform, and others enjoyed the ability to reach out to Sesame to help cancel an appointment when needed.
Negative reviews mentioned no-show providers and difficulty communicating with providers regarding missing prescription details. Users who tried to cancel their memberships to Sesame Plus mentioned having difficulty reaching customer support in order to do so.
Why You Can Trust Us
We independently investigate and recommend products and services we believe will enrich the lives of our readers and meet their specific needs. You can read our full online therapy review methodology here. We’ve spent many hours carrying out in-depth research on the online therapy market. You can trust our review because we did the legwork for you in these specific ways:
- Engaged in ongoing independent research
- Mystery shopped each of the brands
- Contacted brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and gauge responsiveness
- Consulted six leading psychologists and psychiatrists
- Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
- Reviewed academic research about the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
- Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as the BBB and Trustpilot
The Bottom Line
Sesame is a telehealth platform that offers convenient access to online therapy for individuals and couples, in addition to online psychiatry visits. The Sesame platform allows users to choose from providers who may have same-day availability, and the optional Sesame Plus membership discounts all appointments by $20. The transparent pricing and provider availability helps users understand exactly how much they’ll be charged and the soonest they can see a provider.
In Emergency Situations
If you are in crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. That includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Help is available 24/7.
You can also reach out to the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA help line is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental health or substance abuse disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Interview With Justin Gerstner, MD. Ellie Mental Health. St. Paul, Minnesota. October 2022.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental Health by the Numbers. June 2022.
- Online Therapy Survey. 1,000 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched April 11, 2022.
- Balestra M. Family Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice Issues When Treating Patients With Mental Health Issues. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. July 2019.