Ethical or not? Industry divided over Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapist going public with details
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapist revealing that he had bipolar disorder and depression has led to varied reactions, with people saying that this broke the client confidentiality. We talk to some industry people about their take.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 10:47 IST
After Mumbai based therapist, Susan walker, in an interview to journalist Barkha Dutt, claimed that she is late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapist and that he was indeed “bipolar and suffered from clinical depression”, there has been a raging debate on whether she broke the client confidentiality clause and is it even ethical for a therapist to go public with such information.
Writer Apurv Asrani, who has been vocal about the mental health aspect to this case right from the beginning, feels the therapist shouldn’t have gone to the press. “She should have gone to the police and/or Sushant’s family first. There’s so much stigma in society about seeking help for mental health issues. Ms Walker’s betrayal of the patient-therapist confidentiality will deter many from seeking help in the future,” he opines, adding thattherehave been so many speculations already in the case.
“Few says after his death, a publication carried a report that Sushant’s psychiatrist Kersi Chavda claimed that he had strange episodes of mania. The very next day Kersi denied giving the interview and called it filthy journalism. But still, some media houses have gone on relentlessly and insensitively discussing Sushant’s mental health. Everyday there’s a new therapist/counseller claiming he had this or that illness,” rues Asrani.Calling it a “cardinal crime”, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri says, “I take all the these people, who’re directly or indirectly involved in this — therapist, cook, girlfriend, anybody, is committing a crime if they’re talking to media, unless the police has closed the investigation.”
Actor Swara Bhasker came out in defence of the therapist, and wrote in a series of tweets, “ALL codes of conduct were thrown out of the window from minute 1 - when the pic was his corpse was circulated… Technically she may be breaking an ethical code except that there was a genuinely exceptional circumstance in this case…”
Producer Pritish Nandy concurs and feels it’s not correct for a therapist to talk about it. However, he adds, “Since the matter has now become a criminal case, I don’t think the psychiatrist has the privilege of holding on to that confidentiality clause, because then everything becomes a subject of unnecessary speculation. Therefore, not only in her own wisdom, but as per law of the land, she has spoken out to set the record straight. That’s fair enough, these are extraordinary circumstances, and we’ve reacted extraordinarily.”
Walker also defended Chakraborty, and said that she was Rajput’s biggest support. Reacting to this, actor Kamya Panjabi says, “If we talk about ethics, this shouldn’t have come into the public, the doctor isn’t supposed to share the details about the patient. But since so many things are happening, I don’t know is she was under pressure and spoke up. But I want to ask one thing, if you’re truly in love with someone, and if that person is going through so much in life — mentally, physically, professionally — how can you leave that person and go?”
As someone who has herself battled depression, actor Chahatt Khanna says while it’s definitely meant to be confidential, revealing it should be valid in a case like Rajput’s as police needs to investigate. “They need to know if it was suicide or murder, due to someone demeaning him, or suffering. This is mandatory. For people saying why the therapist say in public, I don’t think there should be any problem. We’re all trying to solve this case, and get justice for Rajput,” says the 34-year-old.
Samir Soni affirms he’d not take Walker’s word as gospel truth. “In fact, if she did want to give a balanced view, she should have exposed the person who prescribed medicines to Rajput as she cannot do that, she’s just a psychologist and therapist. I don’t know how the law stands on this if a death is involved,” he reasons.
Follow @htshowbiz for more