Mantra Health Online Therapy Review

A digital mental health provider designed specifically for university students

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Mantra health

Mantra Health works with colleges and universities to provide therapy and psychiatry designed for students. Although also open to the general public, working with higher education facilities is what makes Mantra Health unique. This therapy company stands out for individual therapy, particularly working with people who have anxiety or depression, but it might not be as beneficial for those looking for couples therapy or marriage counseling since it is focused on young adults in college or university.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Services available nationwide

  • Currently on 110 campuses

  • Sponsored students receive initial sessions paid for by their education establishment

  • Insurance from select carriers is accepted for people who self-pay

  • Therapy, psychiatry, and medication management available

  • HSA/FSA accepted

  • Designed specifically for students

  • A diverse range of highly qualified therapists

Cons
  • Only available to adults over the age of 18

  • Only available at certain colleges and universities

  • Tailored to young adults in education, so it may not be the best choice for couples or relational therapy

Key Facts
Price
Initial sessions are free for sponsored students. Following sessions cost $90-125 for therapy, and $125-$180 for psychiatry
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes. Only certain providers at present.
Type Of Therapy
Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry
Communication Options
Live Chat, Messaging, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
No
Why Trust Us
55
Companies reviewed
5,775
Total users surveyed
350
Data points analyzed
We surveyed 105 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

The arrival of the pandemic changed everyone's lives and altered how we live, work, study, and socialize. Research has highlighted that stresses associated with the pandemic have put university students at greater risk of developing mental health issues. This can impact their academic success, social interactions, and future opportunities. Mantra Health recognized a need for immediately accessible mental health support at a time when COVID-19 triggered a mental health crisis among young adults. The company works exclusively with colleges and universities to provide evidence-based mental health care. Its collaborative approach with higher education ensures young adults have access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally informed mental health care.

Students can access therapy, psychiatry services, or medication and be guided through lifestyle changes. As an online mental health company growing rapidly, we decided to speak to users to get their views on the service. We surveyed 105 users of Mantra Health, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and listened to testimonials from people who have in-depth experience with the services offered.

What is Mantra Health?

Mantra Health is a telehealth company that was -founded by Ed Gaussen, Matt Kennedy, and Dr. Ravi Shah in 2018. Part of the drive behind the company came from Gaussen (now CEO) whose sibling dropped out of college in 2016 due to mental health issues and found it difficult to find an appropriate provider. Mantra aims to work collaboratively with colleges and universities, and doesn’t want to take over their current counseling services, but aims to be a digital extension of the on-campus counseling staff.

Mantra Health equips college and university counseling offices with a dedicated psychiatry or therapy provider. That provider works exclusively with the school they’re assigned to. It has the potential to work across all 50 states, but it’s not available everywhere at present. Mantra Health’s services are currently on 110 campuses. Some of its university partners include Penn State, the University of Wisconsin System, Cornell, and MIT. The school sponsors the program as a student benefit, but students are responsible for the cost of their medication (if prescribed.)

Since its launch, Mantra Health has continuingly aimed to expand its services. It also hit the news in July 2021 for launching a program designed to support individuals with bipolar I disorder (it already provided a service supporting patients with bipolar II disorder.) These programs allow students with bipolar I or II to access therapy via telehealth, have ongoing screenings for symptoms in between appointments, text telehealth providers with any questions, and share info with university health clinicians.

At the beginning of 2022, Mantra Health was again in the news with the announcement of a $22 million Series A investment led by VMG Partners. At the time of the announcement i, the company was already supporting 52 campuses across the U.S., providing more than 500,000 students with timely access to psychiatry and therapy services via their telehealth platform.

The press release stated the funds would help to develop Mantra’s clinical infrastructure and quadruple the team—which Mantra is proud to state is diverse. Many of the Mantra providers identify as LGBTQ+ or BIPOC and provide culturally informed care. Data from our survey showed  81% of the service users felt the therapist diversity was good, very good, or excellent. The company appears to be on a positive trajectory to improve young people’s access to mental health services.

What Services Does Mantra Health Offer?

Mantra Health differs from other digital mental health platforms as it collaborates with college and university campuses to work alongside the services already available. It focuses on providing individual mental health support for young adults (over the age of 18), and services include:

  • Therapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Medication management
  • Lifestyle changes

By partnering with Mantra, colleges and universities can increase their access to therapy and psychiatric services, increase the overall number of available appointments, and enable students to be seen more quickly. 

Students begin by taking a free assessment online to find the correct services they need. Initial therapy and psychiatry appointments are 60 minutes, with follow-up therapy sessions lasting for 45 minutes and follow-up psychiatry 30 minutes. Messaging is available 24/7, and therapists aim to respond within 24 hours on a weekday or the following week if it’s a weekend. Alternatively, Mantra may arrange an appointment with the student if the topic is too complex to discuss via the messaging service.

Who Is Mantra Health For?

Mantra Health is designed for college and university students over the age of 18. Schools can set up the program, which means sponsored students (those accessing a certain number of sessions through their school’s Mantra program) can access Mantra Health services for free. Session numbers offered to students vary according to the university partner and its care model. Mantra works with each university to deliver campus-tailored care.

As Mantra Health is a digital mental health service designed for colleges and universities, it is best suited to current students looking for therapy, psychiatric services, and medication management. Our survey results showed half of the users sought individual therapy, and most fell into the 18-24 age bracket. Mantra Health treats all common mental health conditions that affect the college and university student population, except for conditions that require in-person or more intensive care to be managed safely. Examples of these exceptions are severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, severe substance use, severe eating disorders, and active suicidal ideation.

How Much Does Mantra Health Cost?

If a school collaborates with Mantra Health, then students can access the service for free for a certain number of sessions. However, the website doesn’t state how many sessions this is for. Once the initial sponsored sessions are completed, students can continue working with a provider on Mantra Health’s platform as a self-pay patient. 

For self-pay patients, costs are as follows:

  • Therapy: $125 for an initial 60-minute appointment
  • Therapy: $90 follow-up 45-minute appointment
  • Psychiatry: $180 for an initial 60-minute appointment
  • Psychiatry: $125 follow-up 30-minute appointment

Once a member of Mantra, you work with your provider to develop a personalized plan that includes therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication if appropriate. You also get access to your provider over messaging, tools to track your progress, and ongoing video check-ins.

The average cost of therapy in the United States can range from $60 to $200, depending on the state. Without insurance, an initial psychiatry session can be as much as $500 or more. The data from our survey showed that 48% of users felt Mantra was affordable or very affordable, and 74% said it was good, very good, or excellent value for the money.

Does Mantra Health Take Insurance?

If you are a self-paying patient, Mantra accepts insurance from select carriers. These carriers are not listed on the website, but you can share your insurance details with them to confirm eligibility. If Mantra accepts your insurance, you will be responsible for the copay.

Does Mantra Health Offer Discounts?

Students can access Mantra for free regardless of insurance. This means many students get help when they need it. It doesn’t offer any other advertised discounts that I am aware of, but the privacy policy suggests that promotional offers are sent to members who provide their email address and agree to be contacted by email.

Navigating The Mantra Health Website 

The homepage of the Mantra Health website is calming in its purple and white color scheme and features the picture of a university student sitting on their bed in front of a computer at the top. The headline states Mantra Health is “the leading digital mental health provider for university students,” clearly indicating its target audience. 

It’s explicitly laid out sections across the top right-hand corner are labeled for Universities, Patients, Providers, About the Mantra Health Approach, its blog, and where to log in if you are already a member.

At the bottom of the main page, you can find additional links to access its Frequently Asked Questions, information about Careers with the company, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Telehealth Consent, and Notice of Privacy Practices. There are also icon links to all its social pages.  

There aren’t a lot of FAQs, and it doesn’t list the insurance providers it works with. There also isn’t a list of schools that already work with Mantra, so you can’t see where the Mantra Higher Ed program is currently already available. 

What I really appreciated is what I found at the bottom of each page in the center:

“If you’re in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Call 988 (Available 24/7)

Crisis Text Line

Text HOME to 741741”

It also has a link to further crisis resources that you can click on. 

I found it easy to find my way around the site, and 60% of our surveyed users agreed. When compared to other providers, however, only 49% of users said that the website or app was easier to use than other mental health services they had used previously, which suggests other companies may have more accessible tech platforms.

Does Mantra Health Have An App?

Yes, Mantra Health has an app once you are a member, which you can use to message your provider 24/7, track your progress, and conduct video chats with your provider.

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Mantra Health?

Raldgine Beauvais, MPH candidate and Founder and CEO of Beauvais Magazine, walked me through her experience of working with Mantra Health as a student. She found the sign-up process very efficient. Raldgine learned about Mantra through her therapist, who recommended the transition to a psychiatrist. 

"An email link led to the 'sign-up' page,” she explains. “The process was efficient and personal as they asked questions about your psychiatric health, background, insurance, and even how you are feeling in the current moment.”

Many notices assure the confidentiality of your answers when signing up, so Raldgine said the process felt safe. Once you answer the questionnaire, you are matched with a provider.

Matching with a Therapist at Mantra Health 

You get matched with a therapist from your initial questionnaire (you can mention what is important to you in a provider, such as their cultural or racial identity, when being matched with a therapist). Mantra does not give you a list of therapists to choose from; instead, it automatically matches you with a provider according to your initial introduction evaluation. 

As a service user, Raldgine explained being matched with the right therapist was particularly important to her, and she was matched very faithfully from points she made in her initial assessment. 

"As a black woman, I wanted a therapist that could understand me from a holistic perspective to better serve my psychiatric needs,” she explains. “I believe heavily in the power of representation in health, so it was important that Mantra met this criterion."

Eight percent of users said finding a therapist with a similar background or cultural identity was the most important factor to them when looking for a therapist. Six percent said it was finding a gender-affirming therapist, and 7% said it was a therapist who speaks the same language that was most important. 

Mantra appears to be able to deliver and match therapists to meet these needs. Forthy-three percent of users stated it was easy or very easy to find a therapist with Mantra, with a further 35% stating it was neither easy nor difficult. Therefore, the majority of users had no problem being matched with a therapist, but these percentages are lower than many other therapy companies we surveyed.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Mantra Health?

Therapy sessions are conducted via a video conferencing platform via Mantra’s website. It operates similarly to Zoom. Once you sign into your account on the website, your dashboard will appear. Your meeting link will appear right in the middle of the screen, so all you have to click is 'join meeting,' and you are on a web call with your provider. 

"It is very simple," said Raldgine. "I recommend placing the Mantra Health link in your calendar descriptions, so it is easy to access at the time of your appointment," she advises. Forty-nine percent of users stated the website platform was easier to use than other online therapy companies they have used in the past. 

Sessions are based around the individual and are very tailored to their needs. "Good points in the session included an assessment of how you are currently feeling, what happened between sessions, and your experience with the medication provided," said Raldgine. However, she explained that it's a two-way relationship, and you get out of the sessions what you put into them. By being open, honest, and sharing your concerns, the therapists are more able to help you - as with any type of therapy.

Messaging Your Therapist

You are able to message your therapist through your dashboard online. Once you log into your account on the Mantra website, there is an icon for "Messages." This feature works just like a chat conversation where you can message back and forth with your provider, like texting. Raldgine reported that her therapist was always quick to respond (six hours or less), but of course, the provider's response time varies.

What If You Miss a Session?

Mantra Health requests that you cancel or reschedule appointments at least 24 hours in advance. Sessions canceled or rescheduled after the 24 hours are charged at $50. However, for patients sponsored by their university, a fee is not charged for late arrival, rescheduling, cancelations, or no-shows. Despite this, Mantra does ask that all patients do their best to honor appointments, since late cancellations and reschedules lead to lost mental health care services for the school.

Switching Therapists at Mantra Health

Thirty-seven percent of Mantra Health users did not feel the need to switch therapists, and 23% switched once. You have the option to switch your therapist at any time. It is a simple process. 

You contact support, and they will find a new provider in your state for you.You can contact support via the online portal in the settings section, which allows you to email them directly.

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Mantra Health

Canceling therapy with Mantra is as simple as switching therapists. You can just message the support center, and they will process the cancellation. Emailing hi@mantrahealth.com or calling its support service at 1-800-464-2083 is the easiest way to deal with rescheduling appointments, switching therapists, or canceling altogether. It can also be done via the online portal. You click on ‘settings’ and ‘support’, then you can just email them. “They closed my account within ten minutes,” stated Raldgine when asked about the process.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

Overall, 90% of those surveyed rated Mantra health as either good, very good, or excellent, and 71% of users said they would recommend Mantra Health to a friend or someone like them. The same percentage of users found a therapist that met all or most of their needs. 

“I met an incredible therapist who truly changed my life,” Raldgine recounts of her therapy with Mantra Health. “With the new direction and motivation I had from breaking free from general ties and life as a black woman in America, I felt a darkness shape over me as I could see the joy but not reach it. That is when my therapist recommended medication, which I initially resisted due to systemic medical racism, then I eventually decided to trust the medicine with many recommendations from peers.”

 She continues, “Mantra Health truly changed my vision for my life forever. For the first time in decades, I could finally deal with my life struggles and have hope. It does not feel real that I could achieve this state, and it taught me self-compassion and understanding that sometimes we can not control our depressive or anxious symptoms, and we just need a little help.” 

One of the biggest positives of Mantra Health is the therapist diversity. The company recognizes the need for more diverse providers in the field of mental health. Users highlighted that they like that the therapists are more culturally supportive when working with clients who are BIPOC or LGBTQIA+. Mantra says that it develops its provider network to address cultural sensitivity around diverse communities and states it maintains at least a 50% representation of providers from diverse identities to better meet the needs of students. 

However, the website and app technology is relatively standard, with only 49% of surveyed users saying they preferred it to that of other providers. Plus, 42% of users found some information wasn’t totally clear until after signing up.

But the process of connecting with a therapist appears simple. Overall, 74% of users stated the helpfulness of Mantra connecting them to a therapist was good, very good, or excellent. Additionally, 47% said they would be likely or very likely to still be seeing their Mantra therapist in 12 months' time.

With increased investment over the last year, Mantra Health continues to expand its digital-first strategies to help students start their care journeys earlier, focusing on prevention rather than reaction.

Privacy Policies at Mantra Health

Mantra Health shares a lengthy privacy policy on its website breaking down what data it collects and how it is used. It is important to note its policy regarding telehealth, which explains that “Wellround (or your own medical provider if you do not use a Wellround Provider) is responsible for providing you with a Notice of Privacy Practices describing its collection and use of your health information, not Mantra Health.”

The telehealth platform used by Mantra Health is HIPAA-compliant (a federal law protecting personal health information). There is a Notice of Privacy Practices available on the website outlining how your protected health information may be used. The Privacy Policy also outlines all ways in which it collects and uses your personal data. It is clear in stating it doesn’t share, sell, or disclose personal data for purposes other than those outlined in its policy. 

These privacy policies are detailed and they may seem quite daunting. So I spoke to Omar Ochoa, the founder of Omar Ochoa Law Firm in McAllen, Texas to get his overview on Mantra Health’s policies. Though the main concern with telehealth is that your private information will be shared, “here, the provisions all mirror what you would expect from a normal healthcare provider,” he reassured. “They discuss who they will disclose your private health information to (internally, to their legal when needed, and for regulatory purposes) and expressly say that anything not listed in the policies requires your consent.”

Ochoa continued to say users should understand that nothing is foolproof. “Sending and receiving private information over the internet leaves it susceptible to data hackers. And there is at least some risk that your private information will be more easily discovered by people you don't want knowing about it when that information lives in a cloud,” he stated.  

But Ochoa added that as long as you know these risks and understand it's a normal part of life online, you can decide for yourself whether the convenience of telehealth is worth it.

Mantra Health vs. Its Competitors

When it comes to competitors, there are a few similar companies, including Timely MD, Uwill, Protocall Services, and MeMD. The two most similar companies are Timely MD and Uwill, which both offer mental health support via telehealth to college and university students. However, Timely MD does not focus on behavioral health as Mantra does. It also is not a long-term solution as students are only offered 12 free telehealth counseling sessions per academic year. On the other hand, Mantra has the option of long-term mental health care through its Insurance Referral Program.

The survey data highlighted that 85% of users said Mantra was a little better, better, or much better than other services they used in the past. In addition, 78% said psychiatry or medication management services were better or significantly better than previous services used. In particular, users said they felt the therapists had better qualifications and specialized training and experience than other providers, and were also more diverse.

In addition, we surveyed 105 users of 55 different online therapy companies, so we can comparehow Mantra Health stacked up against some of the other popular online mental health platforms offering therapy to young adults. Overall, 90% of Mantra Health users rated the service positively as good, very good, or excellent. This is equal to Talkspace, an online therapy and psychiatry service, but less than the online psychiatry company Talkiatry, with 95% of their users very happy with the overall service. 

Mantra Health also scores lower than Talkspace or Talkiatry when considering whether users would recommend the service to a friend. Seventy percent of Mantra users said they would recommend the service, compared to 82% of Talkspace and 87% of Talkiatry users surveyed. And although 86% of people said the qualifications were good or excellent at Mantra Health, this was still less than Talkspace and Talkiatry, who came in at 92% and 91%, respectively. 

 Overall, with its specialist focus on mental health support for young adults and its ability to provide long-term services, Mantra Health stands out above its direct competitors that offer a similiar service, but is perhaps not quite as positively received as some of the larger, more established online therapy companies.

Final Verdict

Mantra offers therapy and psychiatry services designed for students via a system that works collaboratively with colleges and universities across the United States. It is primarily a B2B business working with colleges and universities to deliver care. This approach allows students to access mental health care in a timely manner but does not overtake current on-campus services; instead, it supports them. 

Initial sessions are free and sponsored by the university, but it does work with some insurance companies so students can self-pay and continue long-term care. Although it doesn’t accept all insurance at present, it is continuing to expand its insurance referral program. 

Seventy-three percent of our survey users rated Mantra Health’s value for money as good, very good, or excellent, and the majority said it was better than mental health services they had accessed in the past. What stands out about Mantra Health is its therapy diversity and ability to provide culturally informed care. 

Mantra’s tech platforms are fairly standard and HIPAA-compliant. Its privacy policies are open, explaining that it may share data and information with third parties, which is a normal practice. Of course, all digital services are susceptible to data hackers, so you should consider this before using any online service.

News surrounding Mantra is exciting, with investors injecting more money to help expand its services and pool of therapists. It’s convenient for students to access mental health care quickly if their school has subscribed to the Mantra Higher Ed program. It’ll be interesting to see how Mantra Health grows over coming years.

Methodology

To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 55 companies and surveyed 105 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on the following factors: website usability, the sign-up, and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them.

Edited by
Olivia Campbell,
A white woman with red hair and blue glasses stands in front of green trees

Olivia Campbell is a health editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is author of the New York Times best-selling book “Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine.”

Learn about our editorial process
Hannah Owens,
Hannah Owens

Hannah Owens is the Mental Health/General Health Editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.

Learn about our editorial process
and
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process