Therapist Susan Walker spoke to veteran journalist Barkha Dutt on Saturday and revealed her client, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s medical details. She said that the 'Kai Po Che' actor was suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and hypomania.
After Barkha Dutt shared the interview on the internet, several netizens called out the therapist for revealing Sushant's medical details in public domain and for violating the 'client confidentiality' clause - which is the the requirement that therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and most other mental health professionals protect their client's privacy by not revealing the contents of therapy. Tweeple also lashed out at Barkha Dutt for the explosive interview.
Sushant Singh Rajput's brother-in-law, Vishal Kirti questioned Susan Walker's diagnoses in his blog post and said "Barkha, Sushant is NOT the opportunity to spread awareness about mental health!".
He wrote, "Diagnosing mental disorders is an arduous task and diagnosing someone Bipolar (I or II) is even more so. Not only do you have to observe the person very closely, but you also have to observe them over long periods of time (it takes six years on average to diagnose after the onset of symptoms). Susan very conveniently diagnoses Sushant in less than two months (perhaps over a couple of appointments), with a life-changing diagnosis."
Meanwhile, freelance columnist and a former senior journalist Soumya Dipta pointed out that Walker is not a Psychiatrist but a counsellor. He tweeted, "Ms Susan Walker Moffat said on record that Sushant Singh Rajput was suffering from Bipolar Disorder. I want to place on record that she's not a Psychiatrist. She doesn't have any medical degree. She is a Counsellor. She has done MSc in Psychology from London University."
"Susan appeared on a Youtube channel and said that Sushant was suffering from mental illnesses. Of course, a Psychologist can diagnose mental illnesses. But the case MUST be referred to a doctor (Psychiatrist) who HAS to be an MD (Doctor of Medicine) for final diagnosis," he added in another tweet.
His Twitter thread also explained how clinical psychologists are not permitted to prescribe and administer medicines, but only do counselling.
"Please understand the difference between a doctor & someone who isn't one. It's sad that a non-medical professional is publicly declaring an illnesses of a deceased. This according to Psychiatrist @DrHarish139 violates the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017," read his tweet.
Psychiatrist Soumitra Pathare's comment on Dutt's tweet, read: "Barkha while I agree with everything Ms Walker says about mental illness & the media circus around Mr Rajput's death, I am not convinced that she had a right to break client confidentiality. Unless she believes someone's life was at risk. Also see last point below. Wish her luck!"
Dr. Pathare also shared a thread on 'patient confidentiality' and explained how confidentiality applies after the death of a client.
Here are a few other reactions: