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Are you looking for mental health services covered by your insurance? SonderMind and Alma can help. Both sites provide access to mental health professionals for in-person or online therapy.
Yet, choosing between the two can be confusing, as they offer similar services. So, when it comes to SonderMind vs. Alma, which is better?
In this article, we compare two of the leading sources for connecting patients with licensed mental health professionals. Explore the features, pros, and cons of SonderMind and Alma to start your search for therapy or counseling.
SonderMind vs. Alma Comparison Table
|Price||Free to use||Free to use|
|Covers a Variety of Health Issues||Yes||Yes|
What Is SonderMind?
SonderMind is an online platform that helps people find qualified therapists and psychiatrists for in-person or virtual therapy. Mark Frank launched SonderMind in 2014 out of Colorado. The service is now available in at least 17 states and counting.
SonderMind aims to simplify the way that people find mental health professionals in their area. You can find local counselors for individual sessions, group therapy, and workshops. Booking appointments and paying bills are handled directly through the website or mobile app.
You do not pay to use SonderMind. The services are free for patients to use. The company can even narrow the search for licensed mental health professionals to those that accept your insurance.
What Is Alma?
Alma is another online platform designed to pair patients with qualified mental health professionals. However, the company started with a different focus compared to SonderMind.
Alma was developed to address the shortage of mental health providers that accept insurance. Many therapists and psychiatrists refuse to accept insurance due to the administrative work involved in processing claims.
One survey found that about 42% of therapists in California do not accept insurance. People are much more likely to pay out of pocket for mental health services. Alma helps encourage providers to accept insurance by simplifying the process. Alma handles billing so providers can focus on delivering quality mental health services to a wider range of patients.
How Does SonderMind Work?
SonderMind was designed to make it easier to find therapists or psychiatrists. You first need to create an account and answer a few questions. SonderMind uses a short questionnaire to better understand what you are looking for in mental health services.
The team at SonderMind uses the information that you provide to search its network of mental health providers. SonderMind works with both therapists and psychiatrists. Seeing a psychiatrist allows you to receive mental health treatment that involves prescription medications. A therapist does not prescribe medications.
After finding the best match for you, SonderMind contacts you with information about your potential therapist or psychiatrist. If you want to try another match, you can request SonderMind to rematch you with a different therapist or psychiatrist.
SonderMind works with licensed mental health professionals that do and do not accept insurance. Billing and appointments are handled through SonderMind.
The company processes insurance claims and sends the remaining bill to your account. You can access your account through the SonderMind website or mobile app. You also have the option to arrange in-person or remote therapy sessions, depending on which options are available from the licensed mental health professional that you choose.
How Does Alma Work?
Alma uses a slightly different approach for connecting you with licensed mental health professionals. Instead of finding potential matches for you, Alma allows you to search a directory and find your own matches.
Unlike SonderMind, you do not need to sign up to start using the service. You can access the member database without an account. However, you need to sign up to select a therapist, book appointments, and pay bills.
The directory includes access to about 10,000 mental health providers around the country. You can choose from various filters to narrow your search.
You can search for providers based on the type of insurance that they accept, their location, and the types of services that they provide. Alma connects patients with licensed mental health professionals that provide in-person sessions, virtual therapy, or a combination of the two.
The directory includes profiles for providers. Each profile includes the name, photo, credentials, and other details of the therapist or psychiatrist.
After finding a match, you can request a consultation. The mental health professional that you choose will contact you for an initial phone conversation. You then fill out intake forms and set up your first session.
What Are the Benefits of SonderMind?
SonderMind is a convenient service for anyone that wants to quickly find mental health services. The company handles the task of finding the best match for your specific concerns.
Compared to other online platforms dedicated to providing access to mental health services, SonderMind does a great job of keeping its services simple. You can fill out a few basic details and allow the team at SonderMind to find a suitable therapist or psychiatrist.
SonderMind also attempts to connect you with a licensed mental health professional quickly. The company tries to find a match within 24 to 48 hours.
Using SonderMind should also give you greater peace of mind in knowing that you are contacting a qualified therapist or psychiatrist. The company has a thorough vetting process and works with therapists that cover a wide range of mental health treatments and services, including group therapy.
What Are the Benefits of Alma?
Alma stands out for giving you more control over the search for a suitable therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. You can use a wide range of search filters when looking for a mental health provider. Some of the filters include:
- Degree credentials
- Languages spoken
- Available services
- Insurance accepted
- Sexual preference
The variety of search filters ensures that you can find a provider that you are comfortable with. Some people may only want to discuss their problems with therapists that meet very specific criteria, such as someone of the same gender.
SonderMind vs. Alma – The Initial Process
Using SonderMind requires you to create an account and answer a few basic questions related to your mental health concerns. The company then searches its network of therapists and psychiatrists to find the best match within one to two days.
Alma allows you to start searching their directory without creating an account. If you find a therapist or psychiatrist that meets your needs, you can request a consultation and complete your account registration.
Neither service charges patients. You can use either platform for free. You just need to pay the out-of-pocket expenses for the mental health services that you use.
SonderMind vs. Alma – What’s the Difference?
The primary difference between SonderMind and Alma is that SonderMind was built with a patient-centric view, while Alma caters to mental health providers.
Both websites help patients find therapists and psychiatrists, but SonderMind handles the work for you. Alma allows you to search for licensed mental health professionals on your own.
Ease of Use
Both SonderMind and Alma are incredibly easy to use. However, some people may find that SonderMind has a slightly more streamlined process.
SonderMind searches for suitable therapists for you, while Alma requires you to browse a directory on your own. Receiving matches based on the information that you provide is convenient.
Some people may hesitate to find mental healthcare due to the challenges of finding a therapist or psychiatrist in their area. SonderMind can eliminate these challenges and pair you with a licensed professional quickly.
Yet, searching the directory on Alma gives you more control and a wider range of options. You can search for licensed professionals that meet your specific needs, whether you want someone that is around your age or the same gender.
Both sites also offer a relatively simple process for dealing with billing. SonderMind and Alma submit claims to insurance companies to attempt to minimize the costs for patients. You can view the remaining amount that you owe from your account.
You can contact the customer service department at SonderMind or Alma with any questions or concerns about their services, including questions related to billing.
The customer service department for SonderMind is reachable via email or phone. The customer service hours are Monday through Friday between 5 am and 7 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm.
The customer service department for Alma is available via email. The company does not currently offer support over the phone. However, you can submit email inquiries and receive a fast response any day of the week.
In the past year, Alma has expanded its services to cover all 50 states in the US. Alma previously only worked with providers in select states but has aggressively expanded to increase its service area to include the rest of the United States.
SonderMind is currently only available in 17 states. However, the company plans to enter markets in other states as interest in its services increases.
Alma and SonderMind are free to use. However, you still need to pay the therapist or psychiatrist for their services. The cost typically depends on whether the therapist or psychiatrist accepts insurance.
SonderMind and Alma allow mental health providers to set their own rates. The cost of therapy and psychiatry services depends on the licensed mental health professional that you select.
As Alma specifically works with licensed mental health professionals that accept insurance, you may find it easier to locate a therapist that accepts your insurance. You also have greater flexibility during the search, which can help you compare average costs to find the most affordable option.
SonderMind works with in-network and out-of-network mental health professionals. With an in-network provider, you can expect to pay an average of $85 per session. You will likely pay about the same when using an in-network provider through Alma.
Pros and Cons of SonderMind vs. Alma
Here is a quick review of some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of SonderMind and Alma.
- Offers access to a mobile app
- Send messages to therapists any time
- Choose from a variety of mental health services
- Matches you with a professional within 48 hours
- Only available in 17 states
- A limited selection of in-network providers
- Available in all 50 states
- You do not need an account to browse the directory
- Access to a wider range of therapists and psychiatrists
- Detailed account profiles for each licensed professional
- Some states may include limited options
- The intake process takes more time
How to Choose the Right Platform for Finding Therapists
SonderMind and Alma offer comparable services with different approaches. Both services are also free to use and provide access to in-person or online therapy.
You can also view your billing information from an account dashboard. However, these sites use different methods to pair you with licensed mental health professionals.
If you want a quick and easy way to find a therapist or psychiatrist, consider trying SonderMind. The company finds the most qualified professional based on the answers that you provide when signing up for the service.
You may also prefer SonderMind if you enjoy using mobile apps to manage accounts. The company has a mobile app that you can use to schedule appointments and pay bills.
If you want more flexibility in choosing the therapist that best meets your needs, consider using Alma. You can start searching the directory without creating an account. The search directory includes many filters for focusing on the details that matter most to you, such as the cost of the sessions or the gender and age of the therapist.
The bottom line is that SonderMind and Alma are reputable services and free to patients. The only costs come directly from the mental health services that you obtain.
You can use either site to start searching for a licensed mental health expert in your area. SonderMind finds the match for you, while Alma lets you search for yourself. If you cannot find a suitable therapist or psychiatrist on one platform, you can always switch to the other.