Best Online Therapy for Cancer Patients

Talkspace is our pick for best online therapy for cancer patients

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A cancer diagnosis can present many challenges—both for those who are diagnosed and their loved ones. These challenges can include mixed emotions, stress, and difficulty coping. Talking to a mental health professional about these challenges can help you manage your emotions and feel more in control. 

With so many therapy options, it can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. Online therapy for cancer patients is now offered through several different platforms and is a covered benefit under some insurance plans. The best part is, online therapy allows you to receive the care you need without crowded waiting rooms and long wait times. This is especially important when your immune system’s defenses are low. We surveyed 105 users of 55 different online therapy companies and compiled a list of the best online therapy services for cancer patients. 

Best Online Therapy for Cancer Patients of 2023

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.

Best for Additional Resources : Talkspace


  • Price: $276 - $516 monthly
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling
Why We Chose It

Talkspace offers the ability to connect with a therapist in multiple ways and offers unlimited messaging with a provider. Cancer patients can benefit from the support provided through unlimited access to a therapist.  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers audio, chat, or video for live sessions

  • Ability to message provider 24/7

  • Daily response from provider

Cons
  • No free trial option

  • Group therapy not offered

Overview

Talkspace stands out among its competitors by offering resources that other companies do not, such as unlimited messaging with a provider. In addition to its live weekly sessions, patients can reach out to their provider and expect an answer once a day, five days per week. 

Talkspace offers therapy not only for individual adults, but also for couples and teens. Registration is easily completed online by answering a few questions. Based on these questions, Talkspace curates a list of three providers to choose from. Once you register, you are given the option to choose between talking to a licensed therapist or to a psychiatrist for medication management, or both. If you feel the need to switch providers, Talkspace allows you to do so at no extra cost. It’s a flexible therapy option that saves time. Having a therapist with unlimited messaging options at your fingertips can give you the opportunity to process your feelings and discuss concerns without having to schedule multiple therapy sessions.

With over a million users and over 5,000 five-star reviews, Talkspace is the right mental health resource if you are looking for convenient and affordable therapy. Our survey data showed 93% of Talkspace users would recommend the service, and 61% of users gave Talkspace an overall rating of either excellent or very good. Talkspace did not disappoint when it comes to meeting patients’ needs—78% of users reported having most or all of their needs met.

Plans & Pricing

Talkspace offers three monthly subscription plans, though the rate you pay will vary depending on where you live and your therapist’s experience:

  • Messaging therapy: $69 per week; message your therapist at any time and receive daily responses five days per week
  • Video + messaging therapy: $99 per week; includes one 30-minute video session plus unlimited messaging
  • Video + messaging + workshops: $109 per week; includes messaging, a live video session, and weekly workshops

Talkspace does accept some insurance plans, so you could pay less out-of-pocket if you have insurance. Talkspace is also currently offering $25 off per week for the first 4 weeks. 

Best for Psychiatry : Talkiatry


  • Price: Depends on your insurance
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes. BCBS, Cigna, United Health, Aetna, Tricare, Medicare, and others
  • Type Of Therapy: Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry
Why We Chose It

Talkiatry provides high-quality psychiatry and medication management services for children and adults.  Care is provided by an experienced team of psychiatrists who have a background in working with cancer patients. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Experienced psychiatrists

  • No restriction on medications

  • Easy to switch psychiatrists

Cons
  • Only available in 17 states

  • $100 cancellation fee

Overview 

Talkiatry provides exceptional mental health services for many conditions, including anxiety and mood disorders. The enrollment process is simple, starting with a free assessment to determine your needs. Talkiatry then uses an algorithm to match you with an expert psychiatrist based on your medical history, medications, and other criteria. At Talkiatry, you are able to see one provider consistently instead of a different one at every visit. You make an appointment and your psychiatrist continuously tracks your progress and fine-tunes medications as needed.

While Talkiatry is in the process of expanding and continues to add psychiatrists in different specialties and locations, it is currently only available in 17 states. All psychiatrists are board-certified and have hundreds of years of combined experience. You are able to browse psychiatrists and read about their qualifications and experience. Talkiatry offers psychiatrists who focus on and have experience in working with cancer patients. You can easily find these providers by using the search box on the site. If you don’t feel that your psychiatrist is a right fit, Talkiatry makes it easy to switch by phone or email.  Talkiatry providers work with you to find the best medication for your situation. 

Our survey data showed that 95% of users rated Talkiatry’s overall services as good, very good, or excellent, and 87% were likely or very likely to recommend Talkiatry to a friend or to someone like them.

Plans & Pricing

Prices are not disclosed on the Talkiatry site and will depend on whether or not you are insured. Talkiatry does accept insurance and patients are responsible for visit costs depending on their insurance plans and coverage. Insurance plan benefits are reviewed as part of the appointment process so you understand all of the financial details prior to seeing a provider. 

Best for Unlimited Access to Group Support : Sesh


  • Price: $60 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It 

With Sesh, you can benefit from unlimited group support for the same or less than the cost of an individual therapy session. Cancer patients and their families can find groups that may help with the struggles that come with a cancer diagnosis. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers one free session

  • Unlimited support available

  • Ability to cancel at any time

Cons
  • Not reimbursed or covered by insurance

  • Late arrivals and no-shows are charged a $20 no-show fee

Overview 

Sesh offers patients and caregivers the ability to connect with others who may be experiencing the same feelings or situations. All sessions last between 30 to 60 minutes and are facilitated by a licensed therapist. Groups can consist of anywhere between two to 10 members in each session. Once you register for Sesh, you are given the option to search and sign up for specific groups. All participants must be aged 18 or older. 

While the Sesh site doesn’t appear to offer groups specifically for cancer patients, it offers several groups which may benefit cancer patients and their families. These support groups include different topics such as calming anxiety, dealing with burnout and fatigue, and coping with depression.  

Seventy-eight percent of Sesh users rated the service as good, very good, or excellent overall, and 70% of users said that all or most of their needs were met through this service.

Plans & Pricing

Sesh does not accept insurance and has two plans depending on your needs.

  • Per session: $30 
  • Per month for unlimited sessions: $60

Best Full Service : MDLIVE


  • Price: $108-$284 per session
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Individual Therapy, Medication Management
Why We Chose It

MDLIVE not only offers flexible therapy support to help you talk through your cancer fears and concerns, but also psychiatry and medication management from the privacy and safety of your home. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Board-certified psychiatrists

  • Prescriptions sent to the pharmacy of your choice

  • First appointment in a week or less

Cons
  • Psychiatry session limited to 15 to 30 minutes

  • No free trial period

Overview 

MDLIVE offers flexible and affordable mental health support from experienced licensed therapists and board certified psychiatrists. You can select from thousands of providers with an average of over 10 years of experience. Schedule an appointment by creating an account with MDLIVE, selecting your preferred provider, and choosing a date and time that fits with your schedule. Medications can be prescribed by psychiatrists; however, they do not prescribe controlled substances. 

MDLIVE offers cancer patients the convenience of choosing between therapy or psychiatry sessions. During therapy sessions, you are able to speak to a therapist and learn coping skills, and the session time is 30 to 45 minutes. Psychiatry sessions offer diagnoses of mental illnesses and medication prescriptions, and are 15 to 30 minutes long. 

Ninety-one percent of MDLIVE users rated the service as good, very good, or excellent overall, and 84% of users were likely or very likely to recommend MDLIVE to others.

Plans & Pricing

Choose from therapy or psychiatry. These are per-session prices; MDLIVE does not offer subscriptions.

  • $108 per therapy session
  • $284 per initial psychiatry session
  • $108 per follow-up psychiatry session

Best for Family Therapy : CancerCare


  • Price: Free
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: N/A
Why We Chose It

CancerCare provides free support group counseling for cancer patients and their families. Sessions are led by licensed oncology social workers and are available to anyone affected by cancer.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free support for individuals and their families

  • Counseling is offered via video or phone

  • Available in English and Spanish

Cons
  • Only available in New York or New Jersey

  • No messaging or chat options

Overview

CancerCare’s licensed oncology social workers focus on the emotional and practical challenges cancer patients face. To register, patients can either call the CancerCare Hopeline at 800-813-HOPE (4673) or contact CancerCare by email. Counseling is offered to patients, caregivers, those who are newly bereaved, and children five years of age and older. One-on-one sessions with social workers are offered through video conferencing, and group support is also offered in online sessions. CancerCare provides a list of support groups organized by the specific cancer diagnosis and topic. Topics include caregiving, advanced cancer, and post-treatment survivorship among others.  

Social workers may be able to help reduce anxiety, teach coping skills, and improve communication with your treatment team. CancerCare offers short-term emotional support and offers free telephone resource navigation. Telephone resource navigation is open to anyone in the U.S. who is affected by cancer, patients and their caregivers. This service is provided by professional resource navigators and social workers who can help you to identify local resources for financial assistance, medical equipment, meal delivery and more.   

Plans & Pricing

CancerCare is a free service.

Best for Choosing Your Provider : e-Psychiatry


  • Price: Fees not disclosed
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

E-Psychiatry allows you to choose from thousands of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurse practitioners. Choosing the right fit from a large list of providers who can help with cancer-related stress is key during your cancer journey.  

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Offers medication management

  • Connect with a provider the same week

  • Accessible in all 50 states

Cons
  • Potential out-of-pocket costs

  • No free trial

Overview 

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is partnering with e-Psychiatry to help provide private access to providers who can help patients work through cancer-related stress. E-Psychiatry provides flexible and convenient access to therapy and psychiatry services nationwide. Signing up online is easy and fast. The sign-up process includes selecting three reasons you may need support, from reasons such as anxiety, depression or medication management. It also includes a place for listing medical conditions, including cancer. Once you have completed signing up, e-Psychiatry matches you with a provider based on your preference. You can choose a provider who matches your needs based on gender, experience, age, and religious views.  The e-Psychiatry provider panel includes thousands of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and therapists. 

e-Psychiatry providers supply evidence-based therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy and support, as well as medication management. The flexibility the company offers makes it easy to get the help you need without leaving your home, further reducing your risk of exposure to the community and viral illnesses. 

Plans & Pricing

Fees are not disclosed on the e-Psychiatry site. Fees vary depending on the provider. Once you sign in, you are able to compare provider rates. Most insurance plans are accepted. 

Best for Caregiver Support : Cancer Treatment Options and Management Inc.


  • Price: $155 per session
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Type Of Therapy: Family Therapy, Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

Cancer Treatment Options & Management Inc. helps patients, their families, and caregivers cope with the stress of a cancer diagnosis by providing coping strategies and helping patients strengthen their relationships with their loved ones.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Open to families and caregivers

  • Counselors are experienced with cancer patients

  • Additional free resources for family

Cons
  • No subscription options

  • Does not take insurance

Overview

Cancer Treatment Options & Management Inc. (CTOAM) provides cancer patients with the latest medical science in screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic technologies. CTOAM offers online counseling as an add-on service for cancer patients and their families.

There are several benefits to professional counseling for cancer patients. In addition to reducing stress, anxiety and depression, these benefits can include enhancing the mind-body connection, improving self-care, and diet and lifestyle changes. Sessions can be booked by calling the hotline at 1-833-493-5463, or you can try a free, 30-minute online cancer care strategy session. One-hour counseling sessions can be booked individually for patients or their families. In addition to online counseling, CTOAM provides families with free resources such as access to online support communities and educational resources. 

Plans & Pricing

CTOAM charges $155 per session plus a 5% goods and services tax.

Best for Convenience : 7 Cups of Tea


  • Price: $150 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

The convenience offered by 7 Cups is unmatched. Instead of waiting for scheduled weekly sessions, you can message your therapist up to two times per day, Monday through Friday, from the comfort of your home. The convenience that 7 Cups offers is ideal for patients who travel to and from multiple appointments. It provides access to therapy services without the added burden of taking time out of your schedule.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited messaging with your therapist

  • 24/7 chat option

  • Ability to be matched or choose your own therapist

Cons
  • No free trial options

  • Does not accept insurance

  • Listeners are only volunteers

Overview

With 7 Cups, you are able to access support from anywhere and at any time. After signing up, you are either matched with a licensed therapist or given the option to choose your own. Online counseling is in the form of messaging with your therapist, and 7 Cups provides access to unlimited messaging once you are subscribed. Cancer patients and their families can also benefit from the News/Advice resources section of 7 Cups, with articles ranging from mental health advice for cancer patients to how to support a loved one with cancer. 

7 Cups offers therapy for adults and “active listening” for adults as well as teens. Active listeners are not licensed therapists; however, they are trained to listen with compassion and empathy and help guide conversations to provide a supportive environment. As a member of 7 Cups, you can also access free 24/7 group support chat rooms with over 60 threads related to cancer. 

Plans & Pricing

7 Cups charges $150 per month for unlimited messaging.

Best for Ovarian Cancer : Steps Through OC


  • Price: Free
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: N/A
  • Type Of Therapy: Family Therapy, Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

Each patient is matched with a counselor specializing in ovarian cancer, who works with you to  create a personalized support plan. It helps provide patients and their caregivers with the needed skills to advocate for themselves.   

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Provides support for caregivers

  • Additional education and referral resources as needed

  • Targets underserved populations 

Cons
  • Limited to those with ovarian cancer

  • Support is limited to scheduled sessions 

Overview 

Steps Through OC is a free, six-month online counseling program offered to individuals with ovarian cancer, their families, and caregivers. The program is part of the Clearity Foundation, which was founded by cancer survivor Laura Shawver, PhD, in 2008. The foundation’s mission is to improve the survival and quality of life of people with ovarian cancer. 

Patients meet with a counselor specializing in ovarian cancer for up to 10 sessions, either by phone or video. Schedule your appointments by registering online or calling the toll-free customer service line at 1-866-830-5134. All ovarian cancer counselors have a master’s level degree and have ovarian cancer expertise. Depending on your needs, counselors can also provide education, referrals, and other resources as part of an individualized support plan. Counselors can help you learn about your diagnosis, give guidance for managing side effects, and offer strategies for those in remission. After the six-month program, counselors remain available for any needs that may arise. 

Plans & Pricing

This program is free. 

Compare the Best Online Therapy for Cancer Patients of 2023

Best For
Price
Is Insurance Accepted?
Does it Accept HSA/FSA?
Type Of Therapy
Communication Options
Reset All
Talkspace Best for Additional Resources $276 - $516 monthly Yes Yes Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling Audio, Live Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat Learn More
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Talkiatry Best for Psychiatry Depends on your insurance Yes. BCBS, Cigna, United Health, Aetna, Tricare, Medicare, and others Yes Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry Video Chat Learn More
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Sesh Best for Unlimited Access to Group Support $60 per month No No N/A Video Chat Learn More
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MDLIVE Best Full Service $108-$284 per session Yes Yes Individual Therapy, Medication Management Video Chat Learn More
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CancerCare Best for Family Therapy Free N/A No N/A N/A Learn More
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e-Psychiatry Best for Choosing Your Provider Fees not disclosed Yes No Individual Therapy N/A Learn More
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Cancer Treatment Options and Management Inc. Best for Caregiver Support $155 per session No No Family Therapy, Individual Therapy N/A Learn More
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7 Cups of Tea Best for Convenience $150 per month No No N/A Messaging Learn More
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Steps Through OC Best for Ovarian Cancer Free N/A No Family Therapy, Individual Therapy N/A Learn More
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Final Verdict

While there are several options when exploring online therapy for cancer patients, you may find they may have limitations, such as not being available in your state or not accepting insurance. Talkspace is the best overall service on our list due to its availability, flexibility, and cost. Talkspace offers the most affordable and convenient therapy and psychiatry options of the companies we researched. 

For those with ovarian cancer, the resources from Steps Through OC may be a better, more focused option. Its offering, six months of free counseling from master’s level counselors specializing in ovarian cancer, is unmatched. 

Guide to Choosing the Best Online Therapy for Cancer Patients

What Is Online Therapy for Cancer Patients?

Online therapy offers some of the same benefits of in-person therapy without lengthy wait times, crowded waiting rooms and a commute to a therapist's office. Treatment for cancer can include many appointments, and having one less appointment to travel to can make a difference. Online therapy can include one-on-one sessions with therapists or psychiatrists, group therapy sessions, and free resources. Some platforms also offer medication management services, which can be valuable depending on your needs. Online therapy is now recognized as an effective alternative treatment option to in-person therapy and is providing access to mental health resources that were previously not available. 

What Types of Therapy Are Offered for Cancer Patients?

There are a variety of types of counseling offered to cancer patients. These include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Support groups
  • Family/group counseling

There are a variety of resources for cancer patients and their family members to help deal with the anxiety and stress that may come with dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The type of counseling you choose will depend on your needs, preferences, caregiver, family support, and financial situation. 

In addition to the resources listed in this article, it may be helpful to ask for mental health support resources at your local cancer center. Another way to find types of counseling services is to search for organizations supporting people with any type of cancer or specific types. Cancer.net offers a wealth of resources for cancer patients regarding specific or general support groups, counseling, and other resources. 

Comparing Online Therapy for Cancer Patients

An easy place to start is by contacting your insurance company to see what mental health services are covered. This can narrow down your search and give you a better idea of how much online counseling will cost. 

Consider how you want to communicate (chat, phone, and video are the most common options) and whether the platforms offered for online therapy would work for you. 

The availability of support is also something to consider. Is support offered on a scheduled basis only, or does the platform allow you to contact your provider on a daily basis with messaging? 

There are a variety of other factors to consider as well when choosing which online counseling is best for you. These include:

  • Price: Depending on your needs, online therapy services can range from as low as $30 for group sessions to $284 for psychiatry services. Services that are priced at higher ranges may not be feasible for everyone.  
  • Type of therapy: You may find that you prefer to speak to a therapist individually or you may prefer to speak to others who are in a similar situation. Think about what works best for you and your family. 
  • Ease of switching between therapists: Some platforms may allow you to switch therapists with no additional costs, while others may not allow you to switch at all. Find out what your options are before signing up. 
  • Features: Added features can include 24/7 unlimited messaging with your provider, community chat support, and weekly workshops.
  • Experience with the unique needs of cancer patients and their families: If available, browse for therapists who are experienced with cancer patients. 

What If I'm Having Thoughts of Harming Myself? 

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, tell someone immediately. If you are unable to reach your doctor or a loved one, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 (available in the U.S. only.)

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Online Therapy for Cancer Patients Cost?

Online therapy costs for cancer patients can vary. While there are some organizations that offer free online counseling, they can be limited to specific types of cancers or to a certain geographic location. Online therapy costs can also vary depending on the insurance provider and coverage you may have. Patients may have copays or deductibles they are responsible for. For those who self-pay, costs can range from $69 to $284 per session depending on the type of provider you choose.

Is Online Therapy for Cancer Patients Effective?

There is strong evidence to suggest that online therapy is effective. According to clinical psychologist Amy Marschall, PsyD, “Online therapy has been found to be comparable to in-person therapy as far as treatment outcomes are concerned for most populations.”

Online therapy can help with the stress, anxiety, and depression that cancer patients and their caregivers may experience. About 15% to 20% of cancer patients develop clinical depression. Combining psychotherapy and antidepressant medications can be highly effective in treating depression in people with cancer, and treatment can now be offered without the need for an in-person office visit.

What Treatments Are Involved in Online Therapy for Cancer Patients?

Treatments may involve individual counseling, family counseling, and group therapy. If needed, there are online therapy services that can offer personalized care from psychiatrists who specialize in mental health care and medication management. “Each treatment plan is unique and based on goals,” explains Dr. Marschall. “They might focus on addressing worries about their diagnosis, processing grief about lost health, or treating the depression that comes with this kind of diagnosis.”

Is Online Therapy for Cancer Patients Right for You?

While there are many factors to consider when deciding whether online therapy is right for you, “it really comes down to accessibility and personal preference,'' says Dr. Marschall.  If patients are “worried about exposure to illness or are exhausted from travel to other appointments, online therapy is a great way to receive care from home.”

Online therapy is not intended for those in crisis or experiencing psychosis. Online therapy is also not appropriate for those who have been diagnosed with a severe mood disorder or schizophrenia. 

Methodology

We reviewed 55 online therapy companies to find the best online therapy for cancer patients. Companies were evaluated based on the cost, availability, and resources available for cancer patients. Online therapy companies with a focus on cancer patients were included if they were accessible to two or more geographic locations.

woman with cancer having an online therapy session with her counselor

Istockphoto.com/Stock Photo

©Drazen Zigic

 

 

Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Compen F, Bisseling E, Schellekens M, et al. Face-to-face and internet-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with treatment as usual in reducing psychological distress in patients with cancer: a multicenter randomized controlled trialJ Clin Oncol. 2018;36(23):2413-2421. doi:10.1200/JCO.2017.76.5669

  2. Gratzer D, Khalid-Khan F. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. CMAJ. 2016;188(4):263-272. doi:10.1503/cmaj.150007

Additional Reading

By Lizzette Cruz, MS, RN
Lizzette Cruz is a registered nurse with over 9 years of experience. Her background includes a Master’s in Nursing and Bachelor’s in Physiology. She has extensive experience in clinical research and regulatory writing however she specializes in health and wellness writing.

Edited by Ally Hirschlag,
Allison "Ally" Hirschlag

Ally is a senior editor for Verywell, who covers topics in the health, wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.

Learn about our editorial process
Olivia Campbell,
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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.”

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and April McCormick
April McCormick

April is the health editor for performance marketing at Verywell, where she oversees family health, wellness, and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Mind, Verywell Family, Verywell, Fit, Verywell Health, Time, Parents, Parents Magazine, The Straits Times, The Huffington Post, TripSavvy, Parenting, First Time Mom and Dad, Mama Mia, All4Women, the New York Times Bestseller, A Letter To My Mom, and more.

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