Mental health has finally started to get its due attention in India, more so since the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. People are opening up about their hidden battles with depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of neglect, and above all, feeling unaccepted and lonely.
Many people have made themselves available to friends and family in case they wish to talk about their problems or just want a friendly ear to vent.
Unfortunately, this trend also saw many 'quacks' or know-it-alls offering their help, at a cost. Which is not only illegal but also morally wrong. Out of the many unqualified persons offering 'therapy' in an attempt to cash in on the process, Instagrammers flagged one. She grabbed headlines for her 'act of kindness' as a fashion influencer, Santoshi Shetty landed herself in a soup.
Known for her cool and aesthetic sense of style and seen as a fun-loving Instagram celebrity, Santoshi Shetty's Instagram stunt by 'The Style Edge' is proof of the same.
The style Edge: Fashion Blogger Santoshi Shetty planned to monetise 'mental health therapy'
Santoshi made an IGTV video wherein she mentioned that she is offering "therapy" for Rs 1,500 an hour, despite not being qualified in the subject. She urged her fans and friends to reach out to her and assured, she will guide and help them navigate their issues. This didn't go down well with either her followers, critics, or her fellow influencers on social media and one of the twitter users wrote a lengthy letter slamming the fashion influencer.
Her tweet read, "Someone tag #santoshishetty if they get a reply from her. She needs to know this. Stop cashing in on things like mental health. Influencers need to be taught this. It's F*****D UP. and ILLEGAL. Use lucrative platforms like #Instagram for mental health awareness thanks a lot."
Hi. Someone tag #santoshishetty if they get a reply from her. She needs to know this. Stop cashing in on things like mental health. Influencers need to be taught this. It's FUCKED UP. and ILLEGAL. Use lucrative platforms like #Instagram for mental health awareness thanks a lot. pic.twitter.com/ujE0zMBFpp— Ambalika Chaudhry (@Amby_pure) July 7, 2020
The 'not so kind', act which led to the backlash.
What people commented on Santoshi Shetty's explanation
Taking to their respective handles on the micro-blogging site, one user angrily lashed out saying, "Why am I writing critical analysis day in and night, spending hours understanding the DSM, OCD, differences between symptoms and residual symptoms when #SantoshiShetty just became a therapist because she has good energy, and made an IGTV about it (sic)". Another one tweeted, "Bloggers have hit a slump so one of them SantoshiShetty has decided to become a mental therapist with ZERO I repeat ZERO expertise in this field. What's worse is she is charging 1500/session & defends it as a beautiful gift and gibberish! Mental health reduced to a bloggers fad! (sic)"
So Santoshi Shetty wants people to pay her so that she could give them "positive energy and vibes". And when being called out that she is not qualified to be a therapist goes on to delete those comments, cuz positive vibes only.
So Santoshi Shetty wants people to pay her so that she could give them "positive energy and vibes". And when being called out that she is not qualified to be a therapist, goes on to delete those comments, cuz positive vibezz onlay. pic.twitter.com/OVUu1Kt2rH— Rahul Kahnwald (@bigdeekenergyy) July 6, 2020
One more user was of the view that to offer mental health 'therapy' you need to be qualified enough. The Twitterati wrote:
Being a psychologist/therapist is no joke. It requires academic backing, educational degrees, licenses, professional knowledge, and adequate experience in the field to deal with someone going through mental health issues. At the end of the day, it is also a form of medicine and science and not something #positivevibesonly can solve.
Are we going to open a conversation about #SantoshiShetty’s video about giving one on one sessions to people in distress and spread her love and kindness in the world?— Neharika (@neharika_bhasin) July 6, 2020
This is when she’s not a trained #MentalHealth professional and doesn’t know shit about what she’s preaching.
Bloggers have hit a slump so one of them SantoshiShetty has decided to become a mental therapist with ZERO I repeat ZERO expertise in this field. What's worse is she is charging 1500/session & defends it as a beautiful gift and gibberish! Mental health reduced to a bloggers fad! pic.twitter.com/6TCU2sOBh9— Maya (@Sharanyashettyy) July 7, 2020
Shetty clarifies and apologises
Shetty was slammed left, right, and centre for attempting to monetising mental illness and took down the video after the backlash. She apologised, saying that "for not clarifying that it was never meant as a substitute for Mental Health therapy sessions." She further explained her intentions as "creating a community" where people could "grow together spiritually."
Letter of Apology
She also apologised for trying to monetise it, saying "It sends a message I didn't intend to send."
Pandora Box of influencer war:
Many followers and users vented their ire at all the influencers and targeted them for using influencing the millennials in the wrong way.
Check out all the comments below:
One of the Instagrammers pointed out how other influencers like Komal Pandey, Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila 'spread smiles, and don't indulging in monetary benefits at least out of mental health like topics.
Read her post below:
Fellow 'Content Creator' calls out 'Influencers'
Replying to hate message on Santoshi Shetty's apology post, a fellow friend and influencer Sherry Shroff called out Santoshi and put forth her stance saying, 'That she isn't supporting any such deed on her social media. She is a 'content creator' and doesn't allay with the PR machinery of influencers.
Check out lambasting messages on her post:
What do you have to say about the influencers going overboard and attempting to encash mental health issues? Comment below.