Warning: *privacy not included with this product



Review date: April 20, 2022


Mozilla says

People voted: Super creepy

"You deserve to be happy." Yes, you do deserve to be happy! BetterHelp thinks they can help you with that if you use their online service to connect with a therapist. Download the app, complete the intake questionnaire, pay up, and boom, BetterHelp says they will match you with a therapist right for you. Then they say you get unlimited messaging with your therapist through chat, phone, or video. Unlimited! All this sounds good, just know that BetterHelp has a bit of a spotty record with things like actually providing the services they promised. And they got in some hot water when they used social media and YouTube influencers to promote their product in ways people found icky. Top that off with a questionable brand partnership they formed following the tragedy at the Travis Scott concert in 2021 where people died and BetterHelp may or may not leave you feeling happy. Oh, and their privacy and security practices seem rather questionable too.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

BetterHelp could do better at protecting your privacy. Where to start? First, we here at *Privacy Not Included read privacy policies for a living. We've seen many and have a sense for what makes a good privacy policy and what worries us in privacy policies. We found BetterHelp's privacy policy short and missing information we wanted to see made clear. BetterHelp doesn’t specifically state in their privacy policy that they don’t sell user data, which is something we like to see stated clearly. Also, their short privacy policy doesn't mention important information like if and how they collect location data, how long they retain users' data, and how users can access or delete this data. This is another big flag for us. BetterHelp also uses the word "may" a whole lot in their short privacy policy, which as someone who reads privacy policies can tell you, usually means they want to give themselves a lot of wiggle room in how they use your personal information. So many red flags so far.

But wait, there's more! BetterHelp does collect a whole lot of personal information, from the responses to their intake questionnaire (like are you feeling depressed or anxious or are you struggling to maintain relationships), to things like name, age, email address, and phone number. They also say they can use data they collect on you for personalization, product offerings relevant to your individual interests, and targeted ads. And they say they can share some data with a number of third parties including advertisers (boo!), and with any subsidiaries or parent companies within their corporate group (which includes Pride Counseling, Teen Counseling, and Faith Counseling). Remember, every time your data is shared, the potential for data leaks or breaches grows.

And according to this 2020 article by Jezebel, BetterHelp shares metadata from every message, though not its contents, with Facebook. This means that Facebook could know what time of day a user was going to therapy, their approximate location, and how long they were chatting on the app. Yup, red flag.

Is there more that worries us? Why, yes, there is. BetterHelp says they collect, use, and store communications between users and counselors on their platform. They do say they encrypt messages between you and your therapist on the platform, which is good. We were unable to confirm if BetterHelp has a system in place to manage security vulnerabilities on their app, which raises a flag for us about their overall security practices. We emailed their listed privacy contact to ask some questions about BetterHelp's privacy practices and received no response to our questions, so we're not sure if users can expect a timely response from that listed contact.

BetterHelp is a popular mental health platform right now in 2022. They are pouring millions of dollars into advertising to grow their user base. They have a number of concerning privacy and security practices that we and others have reported like sending data to Facebook and sharing data widely with third parties. What's the worst that could happen? Unfortunately, we're afraid a lot could go wrong based on what we learned in our research. That's why we've currently labeled this product *Privacy Not Included.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Do NOT connect the app to your Facebook, Google, or other social media accounts or third-party tools, and do not share medical data when connected to those account.
  • Click the "Shred" button next to each message you've sent if you want it to no longer show in your account.
mobile Privacy warning Security warning A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information


Device: N/A

App: Yes


Device: N/A

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: N/A

App: No

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Better Help does not clearly state they don't sell user data, which is something we like to see.

BetterHelp collects, uses, and stores communications between users and counselors on the Platform, and communications between users and BetterHelp’s customer service team.

BetterHelp may use the information they collect for one or more of the following purposes:
To personalize the website experience and to deliver content and product and service offerings relevant to individual interests, including targeted offers and ads through our websites, and via email.
Any other purpose with your consent.

Purposes for Which Information is Disclosed to Third Parties
With affiliates within our corporate group: We may share your information with any subsidiaries or parent companies within our corporate group.

For advertising: Due to the use of cookies and web beacons, information regarding your activity on our websites, excluding activity when you are logged in and have started therapy, may be disclosed to our advertising partners to optimize marketing. We do not share with any advertising platform private information like member names, email addresses, phone numbers, diagnosis, sessions data, journal entries, messages, worksheets, or any other type of communication you have with your therapist

BetterHelp may share your information with third parties with your consent. Betterhelp does not share with any advertising platform private information like member names, email addresses, phone numbers, diagnosis, sessions data, journal entries, messages, worksheets, or any other type of communication you have with your therapist.

Due to the use of cookies and web beacons, information regarding your activity on their websites, excluding activity when you are logged in and have started therapy, may be disclosed to advertising partners to optimize marketing.

Betterhelp use several publicly-available tools and information exchange resources, such as a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and others. Any information you provide or share while using these tools may be read, accessed, collected by that site and users of that site according to their Privacy Policy.

How can you control your data?

No data retention details are mentioned. Data deletion policies and other rights of users are mentioned only for European Economic Area residents.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?


In 2021, the Economist shared the report of one user that "When I first joined BetterHelp, I started to see targeted ads with words that I had used on the app to describe my personal experiences.”

In October 2018, BetterHelp gained attention from media personalities after concerns were raised about alleged use of unfair pricing, bad experiences with the app, paid reviews from actors, and terms of service that allegedly did not correspond with ads promoted by professional YouTubers.

Child Privacy Information

Children and preteens (under 13) will not be able to sign up for BetterHelp and may be best served by in-person therapy or counseling.

Can this product be used offline?


User-friendly privacy information?


Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information




All the messages between you and your therapist are encrypted by 256-bit encryption.

Strong password


Security updates


Manages vulnerabilities

Can’t Determine

Privacy policy


Does the product use AI? information

Can’t Determine

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Can’t Determine

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine

*privacy not included

Dive Deeper

  • Do Therapy Apps Really Protect Your Privacy?
    Life Hacker
  • ‘We don’t think this is a healthy therapeutic relationship’: Therapist exposes BetterHelp’s problems in viral TikTok
    Daily Dot
  • Peace of Mind...Evaluating the Privacy Practices of Mental Health Apps
    Consumer Reports
  • The Digital Standard Case Study: Mental Health Apps
    The Digital Standard
  • Mental health app privacy language opens up holes for user data
    The Verge
  • Mental Health Apps Aren't All As Private As You May Think
    Consumer Reports
  • How the BetterHelp scandal changed our perspective on influencer responsibility
    Maastricht University
  • The Spooky, Loosely Regulated World of Online Therapy
  • YouTube Stars Are Being Accused of Profiting Off Fans’ Depression
    The Atlantic
  • How Effective Has BetterHelp’s Advertising Been?
  • Here's What's Happening With Travis Scott's Free Month Of BetterHelp Therapy — And Why It's Controversial
  • Dramatic growth in mental-health apps has created a risky industry
    The Economist


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